The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) has announced the winners of its annual awards in a ceremony at Battersea Arts Centre in London. 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the prizes, which recognise leading classical music makers.
This year’s list is dominated by women. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, music director at City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, won the Conductor Award; soprano Nina Stemme won the Singer Award; violinist Alina Ibragimova collected the Instrumentalist Award; while Tansy Davies and Rebecca Saunders got the nod in the Chamber-Scale Composition and Scale Composition Awards respectively.
In addition, the RPS Gold Medal went to composer Sofia Gubaidulina. “This award is especially precious because it comes as we are preparing to celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven,” she said. “To that great composer belongs the merit of affirming in his work the love of harmony – which is the true meaning of the word ‘Philharmonic’. Let us hope that this may be a unique moment in the history of music – when growth for all mankind can really be achieved through works of art.”
Groups making a strong social impact through their work also did well. Chineke! – Britain’s first majority Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra – came away with the first ever Gamechanger Award, while Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Change Makers and Resound programme won the Impact Award for work with professional disabled musicians.
Commented Chineke! artistic and executive director Chi-chi Nwanoku: “For Chineke!’s work across the UK to have been recognised is a huge accolade and we will be proud champions of everything that the RPS stands for as we continue with our mission of championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music.”
The RPS Awards are presented in association with BBC Radio 3, who will broadcast highlights from the event on 1 December at 8:45pm in the UK.