Entries in RPS Music Awards (17)


Winners announced of RPS Music Awards

The UK’s most coveted live classical music awards

Presented in association with BBC Radio 3 #RPSMusicAwards @RoyalPhilSoc


Big name winners include German baritone Christian Gerhaher, Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons and percussionist Colin Currie.

Sir Antonio Pappano presented with the RPS’s highest honour, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal. He becomes the 100th recipient since the medal was founded in 1870.

English National Opera gets some welcome good news, scooping the RPS Music Award for Opera and Music Theatre, in an outstanding year for vocal performers and performance, with Oxford Lieder Festival and Southbank Centre also on song

Younger talent recognised with awards for soprano Mary Bevan and, in only its seventh year, the London Contemporary Orchestra.

New music celebrated with wins for Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, British composer Graham Fitkin, and a Barbican celebration of Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 80

Breathtaking digital meets the best in live performance; bold initiatives to widen the enjoyment and understanding of music marked with awards for the Royal Opera House’s The Opera Machine, and Philharmonia’s iOrchestra


Winners have been announced of the Royal Philharmonic Society [RPS] Music Awards, the UK’s most coveted live classical music awards, with baritone Christian Gerhaher, conductor Andris Nelsons and percussionist Colin Currie amongst the leading musicians honoured. Conductor and Music Director of the Royal Opera

House, Antonio Pappano was presented with the Society’s highest honour, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal. He becomes the 100th recipient of the prestigious honour since the Gold Medal was initiated to commemorate the centenary of Beethoven’s birth in 1870 (the Society commissioned Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and had a close association with the composer).

The RPS Music Awards, marking outstanding musical achievement in 2014 and chosen by distinguished, independent juries, were presented at a ceremony at The Brewery in the City of London (evening – Tuesday 5 May) hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Sean Rafferty and Suzy Klein, with ‘silver lyre’ trophies presented to the winners by soprano Dame Felicity Lott, and a live performance by percussionist Colin Currie. The new RPS Gold Medallist, Antonio Pappano, gave the keynote speech, asking: How do you grow up without the Arts?

Speaking at the awards ceremony, RPS Chairman, John Gilhooly, challenged a new government to “put the strength of imagination and the power of creativity to change lives at the very centre of decision making”, making a call for government to “invest in the imaginations of our young people and promote creativity in every sphere – not just in the arts, but in science, mathematics, industry ... even in political thinking.” Commenting on the “fantastic” line up of RPS Music Award winners, he said: “If there was ever a reason to embrace live music making in the UK, this is it: vibrancy, adventure, surprise, excellence.”

A special programme featuring highlights from the RPS Music Awards ceremony, interviews and music will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Monday 11 May at 7.30pm (and on BBC iplayer).

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 comments:

“ The UK has a strong tradition of classical music and looking at the winners and shortlists for this year’s RPS awards you can see the industry is in rude health. BBC Radio 3 is delighted to be at the heart of that tradition and to broadcast this important event and we congratulate the winners, and all those shortlisted, on their achievements.”

The RPS Music Awards are presented in association with BBC Radio 3, with individual awards supported by ABRSM - the exam board for the Royal Schools of Music, BBC Music Magazine, Boosey and Hawkes in memory of Tony Fell, Bowerman Charitable Trust, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Rosenblatt Recitals, Schott Music, The Stradivari Trust, the Yellow Car Charitable Trust and an anonymous donor.


RPS Music Award

Singer – Christian Gerhaher

Instrumentalist – Colin Currie

Conductor – Andris Nelsons

Young Artists – Mary Bevan

Large-Scale Composition – Hans Abrahamsen

Chamber-Scale Composition – Graham Fitkin

Opera and Music Theatre – English National Opera

Ensemble – London Contemporary Orchestra

Chamber Music and Song – Oxford Lieder Festival

Concert Series and Festival – The Barbican: Birtwistle at 80 Audiences and Engagement – Philharmonia iOrchestra

Learning and Participation – Southbank Centre: War Requiem Creative Communication – Royal Opera House: The Opera Machine

Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal – Sir Antonio Pappano



RPS Music Awards – The Winners

There is a strong showing for vocal music and performers across several categories:

In a year which has seen English National Opera placed under ‘special measures’ by Arts Council England, there was some welcome good news for the company, which picked up the award for Opera and Music Theatre for “consistently outstanding work” in 2014, with the awards jury commenting that: “ENO’s artistic vibrancy continues to shine”.

The German baritone Christian Gerhaher won the RPS Music Award for Singer, for “the purity of spirit, exceptional clarity and sheer vocal beauty” of recitals at Wigmore Hall.

Soprano Mary Bevan took the RPS Music Award for Young Artists for her “great vocal beauty and a growing maturity and versatility”, including in performances at the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.

The Oxford Lieder Festival took home the RPS Music Award for Chamber Music for an ambitious three-week season that featured every song ever written by Schubert.

The Southbank Centre’s War Requiem project, an intensive programme of events and learning resources centred around Britten’s masterpiece and culminating in a performance by young musicians led by conductor Marin Alsop, won the RPS Music Award for Learning and Participation.

The Royal Opera House’s The Opera Machine, an online multi-angled view of the intricate theatrical process behind the scenes at a ROH Covent Garden performance of Wagner’s Die Walküre won the RPS Music Award for Creative Communication, described by the jury as “intuitive and gripping both for aficionados and those who have never been to Covent Garden” and admired for its “remarkable new perspective on how great art is put together.”

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen’s orchestral song cycle Let me Tell You, with a text by Paul Griffiths, and given its UK premiere by Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in June 2014, won the RPS Music Award for Large-Scale Composition, described by the jury as “a unique world... whose ravishing surface belies a meticulously imagined and innovative score”.

There is also a particularly youthful feel to this year’s RPS Music Awards winners, with category winners in the prestigious conductor, instrumentalist and ensemble categories all under 40:

The Conductor award went to Andris Nelsons, outgoing Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, praised for his “profound interpretation of a wide repertoire... his deep commitment to nurturing new works... and his transformative music-making with the CBSO”.

Scottish percussionist Colin Currie, a “fearless ambassador for his many instruments” and a former winner of the RPS Young Artists Award (in 2000) won the RPS Music Award for Instrumentalist for Metal, Wood, Skin, his extensive series of concerts, workshops and masterclasses as an Artist in Residence at Southbank Centre.

“One of Britain’s brightest beacons of new music”, the London Contemporary Orchestra, won the RPS Music Award for Ensemble just seven years after it was first founded. In 2014, the orchestra collaborated with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and played a series of concerts in both traditional and less formal spaces, with the jury commending the way it “nurtures new audiences, forges fruitful alliances across the stylistic spectrum and champions challenging scores with virtuosic flair”.

The Royal Philharmonic Society has a long tradition of commissioning and supporting composers:

This year, RPS Music Awards go to Hans Abrahamsen in the Large-Scale Composition category, British composer Graham Fitkin in the Chamber-Scale Composition category, and to a Barbican festival celebrating the 80th birthday of the most decorated musician in RPS Music Award history, Harrison Birtwistle.

Graham Fitkin took the Chamber-Scale composition award for Distil, premiered by the Smith Quartet and percussionist Joby Burgess at Cheltenham Festival 2014. Fitkin’s work was chosen from “a strong and diverse field” for its “mature and beautifully judged writing through which magical sound worlds are evoked with minimal resources” with the jury commenting: “every step fizzes with electric charge”. The Barbican’s celebration of the composer Harrison Birtwistle’s work, Birtwistle at 80 scooped the RPS Music Award for Concerts Series and Festivals, “an outstanding festival, of defining ambition and authority... that reached a new audience.”

RPS Music Award for Audiences and Engagement:

In 2012, the Philharmonia Orchestra won the RPS Music Award for Learning and Participation for its groundbreaking digital orchestra installation, Universe of Sound. This year, it took home the award for Audiences and Engagement for iOrchestra, which interweaves outstanding live performances with online and installation experiences, embedded in local communities in Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall and delivered via an impressive range of partnerships across arts and non-arts organisations. The orchestra was saluted for its “ability to reinvent and evolve to build on existing excellent work” in a project, which showed extraordinary levels of audience involvement and interest in areas experiencing multiple deprivation and traditionally low cultural engagement.

Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal

The Royal Philharmonic Society’s (and one of classical music’s) highest honours, the RPS Gold Medal was presented to the Music Director of the Royal Opera House, conductor Sir Antonio Pappano. He becomes the 100th RPS Gold Medallist since the honour was founded in 1870. In its citation, the Royal Philharmonic Society says:

“Sir Antonio Pappano possesses a very rare combination of peerless musicianship, communication skills and leadership. Music Director of the Royal Opera House since 2002 and of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome since 2005, he is a musician who loves his job and knows it from the inside out.

He’s superb with singers and has a particular passion for developing the talents of young performers. He takes an enormous pride in his orchestras, and has highly honed theatrical instincts. He also has a special gift for communication. He’s a storyteller - able to talk simply and convey his passion and knowledge with an exuberance that is irresistible - and which is equally engaging to operatic newcomers and aficionados alike. He’s endlessly energetic, a perfectionist with musicality at his very centre and he commands complete respect from his musicians and it is with great pleasure that we present him with the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society”.

Pappano joins a distinguished list of current gold medallists including Dame Janet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Alfred Brendel, Placido Domingo, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, György Kurtag, Thomas Quasthoff, Sir Simon Rattle, András Schiff, John Tomlinson and Mitsuko Uchida.