Obituary: Dr. Keith Howard OBE, President of Opera North, Passes

(Credit: Amy Charles / Opera North)

Dr. Keith Howard OBE, president and greatest benefactor of Opera North, founder and owner of Emerald Publishing passed away on August 12, 2021. He was 89.

Throughout his career, Howard was an inspiring, respected and committed leader in the publishing industry, who built Emerald into a global company, with more than 450 colleagues around the world and who was awarded by the Queen of England with an OBE for services to business, sport and the arts in West Yorshire.

He received a medal for Philanthropy in the Arts from HRH the Prince of Wales. Dr. Keith Howard stepped down as President of Emerald Group at the end of 2017, but remained on the board.

In 2018, Howard donated 11 million euro to the Opera North Music Works redevelopment project, which became one of the largest private gifts to opera in Britain.

“Keith’s love of opera, his passion for Opera North, and his total commitment to the Company’s success enabled us to embark on the Ring cycle and more recently he stepped up to support our Music Works project with unprecedented generosity. Without his intervention and support Music Works would never have got off the ground and my real sadness is that he was unable to witness the realisation of his and our dream of the Howard Opera Centre and Howard Assembly Room,” said Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North, in an official statement. “Keith was a man of great vision, determination, courage and not least wit, for which he will be fondly remembered. There is no doubt that he has set his own seal on Opera North’s future, and his extraordinary legacy will live on in the Company’s new home, which will benefit countless artists, audiences and young people in the years to come. We send our sincere condolences to Pat and the family.”

In addition to his passion for opera, Howard was a philanthropist, lover of academia and sports.

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