Skip to content

University of York honours musicians and businessman

Posted on 22 March 2006

York musicians, Alan George and Lesley Schatzberger will receive a joint honorary degree from the University of York. The couple, who have enjoyed a strong relationship with the University for over 30 years, established Jessie's Fund with the aim of helping sick children through the therapeutic use of music in children's hospices across the UK.

The Fund was founded in 1994 to meet the costs of a complementary treatment in the United States that offered some hope to their daughter Jessica, who had been diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumour. Sadly Jessica died before the treatment began. Jessie's Fund became a registered charity in 1995.

The couple are eminent musicians; Alan is a chamber music player, in particular playing viola in the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, which was the quartet in residence at the University in the early 1970s. Their recordings have won many international awards, including the very first Gramophone Award for chamber music, in 1977. Alan worked at the University as a Lecturer in the Department of Music from 1986 to 1988.

Lesley graduated from the University of York with a BA in Music in 1974 and is now a clarinettist in historical instrument performance. She is principal clarinet with a number of distinguished companies and has also recorded and toured extensively during her career.

Sir Christopher Bland was appointed Chairman of BT in 2001. He was Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors from1996, and is a former Chairman of LWT and of the Independent Broadcasting Authority. He was Chairman of the Private Finance Panel between 1995 and 1996 and a member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Panel on the Citizen's Charter. In April 2004 he was appointed Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Sir Christopher has also chaired the Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Hospitals Special Health Authority and the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. In 1993 he was knighted for his work in the NHS. He was a member of the Irish Olympic Fencing Team in 1960.

The two degree ceremonies will be held on Friday 31 March in Central Hall on the Heslington campus.

Notes to editors:

  • Alan George and Lesley Schatzberger will receive individual certificates for their joint honorary degree at the day's first ceremony at 10.30am. Their presenter will be Dr Peter Seymour, Department of Music.
  • Sir Christopher Bland will be presented for his honorary degree by University Chancellor, Greg Dyke during the second ceremony at 2.30pm.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153