Gilhooly, originally from Lisnagry, received the honour this week in recognition of his service to music. The 40-year-old is director of the world-renowned chamber music venue Wigmore Hall in London and chairman of the esteemed Royal Philharmonic Society.
Receiving the honour, the jubilant Limerick director commented, “I am very surprised and pleased by this recognition, especially at a time when Wigmore Hall is on sound footing and in the bicentenary year of the Royal Philharmonic Society.”
“So many people have helped me throughout my career and especially in the past decade. I’m really grateful to all of them,” he added.
Gilhooly is credited with the transformation of Wigmore Hall’s artistic, financial and administrative affairs over the past 12 years, bringing it to an all time high in terms of both ticket sales and membership, and also for expanding the venue’s artistic programme in both traditional and new directions.
Over £27 million has been raised throughout his tenure at Wigmore Hall for artistic and capital projects, including a successful refurbishment in 2004 and the purchase of a long-term lease in 2006, which effectively secured the hall’s future.
Chairman of the Wigmore Hall Trust, Aubrey Adams congratulated the Limerick man, saying, “He has made a tremendous contribution to music in Britain and under his leadership he has established Wigmore Hall as the pre-eminent chamber music and song recital venue in the world.”
In 2010, Gilhooly was elected chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, one of the oldest music societies in the world.
A former pupil of Lisnagry National School, Ardscoil Rís and CBS Sexton Street, John’s role as chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society sees him overseeing the celebrations for the bicentenary of the society, on both sides of the Atlantic, throughout 2013.
He was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music in 2006 for his services to the Academy and in 2012 was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music.