Michael Eakin, the Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, is being recognised for his services to music and the Liverpool community with an OBE in The King’s New Year’s Honours list.
Since 2008, Michael Eakin has served as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Executive. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, an extensive music education and talent development programme, and the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and related ensembles and choirs are all part of the organisation.
In this capacity, he has overseen the organization’s substantial expansion, which has included the £14 million renovation of the Hall, steady increases in the number of attendees and the scope and aspirations of the Orchestra and Hall concert programmes, as well as the creation of ground-breaking health and education initiatives that continue to benefit the neighbourhood.
Michael Eakin commented:
“I am proud and grateful to be awarded this honour. Throughout my career it has been a joy to work in the arts, and nowhere more so than at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. This organisation is central to the cultural identity and life of Liverpool, and, indeed, the UK. It reaches right across our community, entertaining and inspiring hundreds of thousands of people through our concert and learning programmes. Liverpool Philharmonic enjoys immense support from local people and partners, and I can think of no better city in which to lead a music organisation. I am privileged to work with an incredible team of colleagues and this award is as much a recognition for their work and dedication as it is for me.”
Louise Shepherd, Chair of the Board commented:
“On behalf of the board, staff members, musicians and friends of Liverpool Philharmonic, I want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Michael. His unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership has been pivotal to the continued success and growth of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra. Through his outstanding work to foster community engagement and expand music educational programs and opportunities for children and young people across the City Region, coupled with further elevating the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s recognition as one of the world’s leading Orchestras, Michael has played a crucial role in shaping the Society as one of the UK’s leading cultural institutions.”
After serving as Executive Director North West for Arts Council England since 2001, Michael joined the Liverpool Philharmonic. He previously served as Reading Borough Council’s Director of Arts and Leisure, overseeing a portfolio that included sport and recreation, libraries, museums, and archives, as well as the arts and theatre.
His initial career was in theatre and concert hall management, where he spent several years as the director of The Hexagon, Reading, a presenting theatre and concert hall. Here, he scheduled performances of dance, opera, theatre, and popular and orchestral music, among other art forms. In collaboration with the WOMAD organisation, he oversaw the construction of Reading’s WOMAD Festival, the country’s largest yearly world music event, as well as the refurbishment and reopening of the 19th Century Reading Concert Hall.
He was previously the Vice President of the Theatrical Management Association (now UK Theatre) and the Chair of the Association of British Orchestras. Eakin is the chair of the Liverpool City Region Music Board and served on the National Council of Arts Council England from 2018 to 2022. In 2013, he won the Liverpool Daily Post Leader Awards for both overall and Liverpool City Region Cultural Leader of the Year. In 2015, he was named the Association of British Orchestras Concert Hall Manager of the Year winner. In 2022, the University of Liverpool granted Eakin an honorary degree in appreciation of his services to Liverpool’s artistic and cultural landscape.