Royal celebration for Leeds conductor

Conductor Martin Binks with his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music.
Conductor Martin Binks with his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music.
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A conductor who is celebrating 45 years at the helm of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra believes that his job is the secret to good health.

Martin Binks, 74, is the longest serving conductor in the Orchestra’s 125-year history and has “absolutely no plans” to retire because he is enjoying the work too much.

I am absolutely still enjoying it and I never think of retiring.

Martin Binks

After collecting his MBE at Buckingham Palace he said: “I am absolutely still enjoying it and I never think of retiring.

“I have had my old age pension for 10 years or so but there is going to be no retiring - not until infirmity creeps up.

“Conductors are long-lived. A friend of mine, a surgeon, says that is because we are exercising the upper body where your heart and your organs are. It is a physical job, so I will keep going as long as I keep physically fit and mentally fit.”

Mr Binks, of Horsforth, conducted his 300th LSO concert last year.

He said: “I am just greatly honoured and thrilled to bits. It is not for me but for all the orchestra.”

He adds the MBE to the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (the French equivalent of the OBE) which he received from the French Ambassador in 1994.

It was in honour of his services to French music with the Leeds Symphony Orchestra and West Riding Opera.

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