Sinfonia Viva Chief Executive Awarded MBE

The Chief Executive of East Midlands’ professional orchestra Sinfonia Viva, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to arts and culture.

Peter Helps has been at the helm of the Derby-based Orchestra since 1995 – steering it through challenging times.

Over the past 20 years Sinfonia Viva has gained national recognition for high quality classical music in diverse settings from major venues to village halls and for its innovative education and community work.

Key achievements have included developing a long-standing relationship with Rolls-Royce plc and securing funding for the Orchestra’s mobile venue to enable performances and community outreach creative projects in both inner city and rural parts of the region.

The quality and vision of Sinfonia Viva’s work has been recognised in many ways over recent years from being a finalist in the National Lottery awards for ‘Dark Clouds’ which marked the start of WW1 centenary to being nominated for a Grammy through its collaboration with  Gorillaz.

The Orchestra is best known locally for its performances at the annual Darley Park concert which attracts audiences of around 35,000 every year.

Mr Helps has also been recognised for his voluntary work to support the Arts both locally and nationally including involvement in the Association of British Orchestras, the Family Friendly Arts Campaign, Derby Arts Forum and Cultivate East Midlands.

Mr Helps, who worked in hotel and theatre management before joining Sinfonia Viva, said: “I regard this honour as an accolade for everyone at Sinfonia Viva – the trustees, management team and players alike.

“So many people past and present have played an important part in making this Orchestra a success and their commitment will ensure that we continue to navigate the challenges that face us as an Arts organisation.”

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted to see Peter awarded an MBE for his services to arts and culture.

“Under Peter’s leadership, Sinfonia Viva has developed significantly over the years and it is very much an orchestra in the community, working with thousands of children and young people every year and more recently with older people in care homes and community settings. This is a well-deserved achievement for Peter and Viva - many congratulations.”

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