Timothy Walker, the Australian-born Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 UK New Year’s Honours List.

Walker, who has held his dual role at the LPO since 2002, was awarded the CBE for services to the Arts and Music, having helped transform the LPO into one of the world’s finest symphony orchestras.

Timothy Walker. Photograph © Chris Blott

“Everyone at the London Philharmonic Orchestra is thrilled that Timothy’s work for the Orchestra has been recognised by Her Majesty. He has led the LPO with great originality, flair and passion ensuring that the Orchestra is at the forefront of the UK’s cultural life with inspiring, inclusive programming, highest artistic standards and thoughtfully developed work with tens of thousands of people in our local and broader communities. On behalf of the Orchestra, I send our most heartfelt congratulations to Timothy on this much deserved honour,” said Victoria Robey, OBE, Chairman of the LPO.

Walker said that he was “deeply honoured” to receive the award. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the players of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, its staff and many supporters and audiences around the world. The players are the heart and soul of this great orchestra and I would like to think this is a shared honour with them,” he said.

Before leaving Australia to join the LPO, Walker was the founder and Chief Executive of World Orchestras, established to present an International Orchestras Season at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Concert Hall. Prior to that he was General Manager of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Executive Officer of the Canberra School of Music.

Walker has an honours degree in Arts, a Diploma of Music, and a Diploma of Education from the University of Tasmania, a Diploma of Financial Management from the University of New England, and is an Honorary Member of the Royal College of Music, London. A former Chairman of the Association of British Orchestras, he serves on the Boards of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Henry Wood Hall, the Serge Rachmaninoff Foundation, and London Music Masters. He was recently appointed to the Shanghai Conservatorium of Music’s International Artists’ Advisory Council.

Among many other roles during his career, he been a member of the jury of the London International Piano Competition, the Victor de Sabata Conducting Competition in Trieste, and the Princess Astrid Music Competition in Trondheim. He has also been a consultant to The Australian Ballet, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo.

His previous honours include being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2000 for services to arts administration.

Australian music and film legend Olivia Newton-John – who was born in England but came to Australia with her family when she was five – was made a dame in the New Year’s Honours for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.