The Christopher Yates Award 

Christopher Yates (1938 – 2014) was born in Lancashire into a house full of music. He and his siblings made up a wind quartet and Chris was the flautist of the family. He went on to study History at Cambridge before further study at the Guildhall School of Music, with a view to pursuing a career as an orchestral flute player. He met his future wife, cellist Cynthia, in the pit of the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company, and they married in 1962. Two daughters arrived subsequently.

Chris went on to work in the management of the Philharmonia Orchestra before he and the family moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where Chris took up the post of General Manager of the Northern Sinfonia. After six years, he made the move into music education, becoming Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1980 and some years later, Vice-Principal. He worked at the college for twenty-one busy and stimulating years. Summers spent in France were a wonderful antidote! Alongside his work at the RNCM, Chris was Director of Concerts of the Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society and Chairman of the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, now Help Musicians UK. He was also instrumental in the development of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, The Sage Gateshead, and the Lowry Theatre, Salford.

Throughout his life, Chris was involved in many organisations that offered support and performance opportunities at the early and crucial stages of a young musician’s career and these included Live Music Now!, Bromsgrove International Music Festival, the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the Graucob Music Awards, the panel of which he chaired for many years. He was renowned for his wise counsel, affability and sense of humour, and is remembered fondly by many former students and professional musicians for the care and practical help he offered so generously.

Chris is survived by his wife Cynthia, daughter Clare who works for a luthier in Manchester, and daughter Catherine who is a violinist and herself has a senior role at the Royal Northern College of Music.
The Christopher Yates Award are supported by The Finderman Charitable Trust and support young musicians living within the Education Authorities of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Cheshire or Lancashire.

Share this post