Former Norfolk and Norwich Festival director made an MBE for services to arts

Richard Phillips, a former director of the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival, has been made an

Richard Phillips, a former director of the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival, has been made an MBE for services to music and the arts in the 2016 New Year Honours. Photo: supplied. - Credit: supplied

A former director of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival has been made an MBE for services to music and the arts over the last 50 years.

Richard Phillips, who joined the then Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival in 1986 and was key to it becoming an annual event, said he was 'chuffed' and 'very pleased' to be recognised in the New Year's Honours for his contribution to the arts over the last his half a century.

Seventy-five-year-old Mr Phillips, who lives in Warwick and is director of Leamington Music Festival, has created or directed an impressive 100 festivals. He paid tribute to the support of his wife, Veronica, and the many volunteers he has worked with over the years, and added his time at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival was a key moment in his career.

'My dealings with the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival were crucial to the way everything developed for me,' he said.

'I was interviewed in 1986. My first Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival was 1988 and I quickly persuaded the board it should be an annual event.'

Mr Phillips also introduced various concerts and events outside of the main festival, he encouraged professional orchestras to perform in Norwich and added dance to the festival programme. He left after the 1991 festival, but his connections with the county continued as he was invited to programme the 1992 and 1997 King's Lynn Festivals.

Mr Phillips, who read history at Oxford, began his impressive career when he joined Sadler's Wells Opera in 1966 as assistant to the dramaturge, Edmund Tracey. He has been behind an huge array of festivals and events in various places including Yorkshire and Warwickshire. He directed Warwick Arts Society for nearly 25 years and oversaw 39 festivals in Warwick and Leamington and numerous concert series. From 2000 to 2007 he was at the helm of Stratford on Avon Music Festival. When Warwick Arts Society stopped in 2005, he brought together a committee which continued to put on three concert series each winter in Leamington and Warwick and the Leamington Music Festival Weekend. In 2002 Mr Phillips was made an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire in recognition of his contribution to music in the Midlands and in 2010 was given the Outstanding Contribution to British Arts Festivals Award by the British Arts Festival Association and the Culture Award in the Warwick District Council Civic Awards.

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