In November 2015, the University's role in expanding the global boundaries of new music, opening the ears of millions to exciting contemporary sounds, earned a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, one of the most coveted distinctions in UK Higher Education.
The prizes are a component of the country’s official honours system and are awarded every two years to a small number of institutions. Customarily bestowed by Her Majesty The Queen herself at a Buckingham Palace ceremony, the prizes are intended to recognise and publicise the contribution that universities and colleges make to the intellectual, economic and cultural life of the nation and to society and individuals in Britain and overseas.
All eligible universities and colleges in the UK are invited to submit entries for the biennial Queen’s Anniversary Prize. They are then assessed by an Awards Council, which makes recommendations to Her Majesty, on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Queen's Anniversary Prize stated that: Over four decades the University has established itself as a global leader in contemporary music. Wide-ranging impacts in culture, education and commercial applications have grown from investment in world-class facilities and staff, strategic partnerships with festivals and industry bodies, and pioneering international collaborations.
“New music inspired by the University’s leadership in this area has reached new audiences, developed generations of creative artists, and contributed to the vitality of cultural life in the UK and internationally, as well as to the social and economic wellbeing of the region. The University’s name has become synonymous with excellence in contemporary music-making, and its leaders are committed both to sustaining this distinctive legacy and to setting future trends.”
Among the many supporting arguments were the fact that in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, all of the University’s research impact in music was scored “internationally-excellent” and “world-leading”. The work of several members of the academic staff working in contemporary music was highlighted and the entry document also stated how the University created and hosts the largest and foremost international platform for new and experimental music in the UK in the form of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, which has a global reputation.