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Leading figures honoured by Newcastle University


An acclaimed musician and an influential biologist are to receive honorary degrees from Newcastle University this week.

Thomas Zehetmair, Music Director of Northern Sinfonia and Professor Lord Krebs, whose work in behavioural ecology has been a large influence at Newcastle University’s Research Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, will be honoured tomorrow (Thursday).

Thomas Zehetmair will not give a traditional speech when he becomes an honorary Doctor of Music (DMus). Instead he will show his thanks by performing a piece on his violin. The conductor, violinist and chamber musician who is renowned all around the world for his talent will also be hosting a masterclass for postgraduate music students.

The musician is Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, USA and was last year appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser by the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. As Music Director of Northern Sinfonia, he is based at The Sage Gateshead.

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs at Newcastle University said: “Thomas Zehetmair is an outstanding musician whose talents are recognised internationally. I am extremely proud that Newcastle University is honouring him and his achievements.”

Professor Lord Krebs, who will be made an Honorary Doctor of Science, is one of the most influential behavioural biologists of the last 40 years. In the 1970s, he was one of a handful of scientists who started the field of behavioural ecology, which is now the dominant movement in the field of the study of animal behaviour.

He has held a number of prominent posts including Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council and Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency. He was knighted in 1999 and is currently Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.

Professor Steve Homans, pro-vice chancellor for the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering at Newcastle University said: “Professor Lord Krebs’ work has had a huge impact on the way we look at animal behaviour.  I am delighted he will become an Honorary Doctor of Science at Newcastle."


Picture of Thomas Zehetmair by Mark Savage, courtesy of Northern Sinfonia.

published on: 11 July 2012