THE founder of a prominent Oxford orchestra has been made an MBE in the New Year’s honours list.

Marios Papadopoulos, set up Oxford Philomusica 15 years ago and it now plays up to 60 concerts a year and runs an education and community programme in schools, hospitals and community centres.

Dr Papadopoulos, who was born in Cyprus, said: “To receive an MBE is a tremendous honour, particularly for someone who arrived in Britain as a child with dreams of a musical career which sometimes seemed unattainable.

“I have been given tremendous opportunities in this country, from that first scholarship onwards, and this wonderful award tells me that I have been able to give something back, and that makes me very proud.”

Earlier this year Dr Papadopoulos, 59, was given a Certificate of Honour by Oxford City Council for his work. He continues to act as the orchestra’s musical director as well as playing and conducting. In 2002 the orchestra became Oxford University’s first-ever orchestra in residence.

Dr Papadopoulos, who lives in Old Marston, came to the UK at the age of 12 to study the piano and made his recital debut at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1975.