Music And Dance Ring In The New Year Honours For Chiswick

Jeanetta Laurence of The Royal Ballet and jazz musician Guy Barker awarded

Related Links

Jeanetta Laurence -image courtesy of Royal Ballet

Guy Barker

Chiswick Residents Get Royal Honours

An OBE for Clare Balding


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Two Chiswick residents have been recognised for contributions to the world of ballet and jazz in the New Years Honours List.

Jeanetta Laurence, Associate Director of The Royal Ballet receives an OBE for services to Dance and Chiswick-born Guy Barker, jazz trumpeter and composer, was awarded an MBE for services to jazz.

Guy Barker is a Musical Director/Arranger on the BBC Radio 2, 'Friday Night is Music Night' and has enjoyed a long career playing with major figures from the world of jazz, swing and pop music as well as composing and arranging music.

He said today that he was "baffled and bewildered" at being chosen for the honour and paid tribute to all his musician friends for their support over the years. Going to Buckingham Palace would be "a bit like going on stage but scarier", he joked.

Jeanetta Laurence was appointed Associate Director of the Royal Ballet in 2009, and worked closely with Director Kevin O’Hare. Born in Oxford, she trained at The Royal Ballet School. Her dancing career began in 1969 when she joined The Royal Ballet Touring Company. In 1970, she joined The Royal Ballet’s New Group, which in 1976 became Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and she was promoted to soloist.

Shortly after being made Assistant Ballet Mistress in 1978, she left the Company to have a family. In 1983 she founded Dance Directory, an agency for freelance dancers and choreographers, with fellow dancer Rashna Homji, which ran successfully for eight years.

She left the agency to work for director and choreographer Gillian Lynne in a commercial capacity before joining The Royal Ballet as Artistic Administrator in 1990. The position of Assistant Director followed in 2003 before she took up the position as Associate Director.

She is a founder and Trustee of the Frederick Ashton Foundation, which exists to perpetuate the legacy and work of the Founder Choreographer of The Royal Ballet.

Jeanetta Laurence commented: “I am delighted to receive this Honour. It has been the most wonderful privilege to have been a part of The Royal Ballet organisation, first at the School then as a dancer with the Company and, for the last twenty five years, as part of the Senior Management Team.”

Kevin O’Hare , Director of The Royal Ballet added “I’m thrilled that Jeanetta Laurence has received an OBE for services to dance. Jeanetta’s selfless commitment to The Royal Ballet is amazing and she is truly well deserving of this honour.”

As Jeanetta has worked for The Royal Ballet for over 46 years, she is planning to retire in June 2015.

Guy Barker playing in 2007

Guy Barker (57) was born in Chiswick. He started playing the trumpet at the age of twelve, and within a year had joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He has toured with John Dankworth, Gil Evans, Lena Horne and Bobby Watson's Young Lions, amongst others.

He told he had fond memories of learning music at the Chiswick Music Centre in Belmont School in the 1970s and said although he had lived all over London, he decided to come back to Chiswick twelve years ago as that is where he feels happiest.

"The phone's been non stop all day since the news became public", he said adding that he was looking forward to celebrating with friends when he plays at Ronnie Scott's jazz club tonight.

Guy has played as a sideman with major figures in the world of music ranging from Frank Sinatra, to Georgie Fame, Haircut One Hundred, Wham, The Housemartins, The Moody Blues, Sting, Cleo Laine, and Sting. He has played with Stan and Clark Tracey's quintet for many years. In the past twelve years he has concentrated on composing and writing music, as well as continuing to play.

He has also toured extensively with the Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece big band, and was Musical Director / Arranger for the opening gala concert "Jazz Voice : Celebrating a century of song" at the London Jazz Festival in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

He also features as Musical Director / Arranger on a number of BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night shows, featuring the Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and celebrating the music of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield amongst others.

He has arranged 6 jazz standards for the film 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and appeared in the film with his quartet. Guy has also appeared on stage in major London venues ranging from the Southbank to Ronnie Scott's and is a regular on the national and international jazz circuit as well as jazz festivals and the BBC.


December 31, 2014