The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) has today announced the shortlist for its 2019 Awards.

This is the 30th Anniversary of the RPS Awards which celebrate the outstanding, the pioneering and the inspirational in classical music. It is the one date in the musical calendar that brings together the UK’s musical profession, from superstars of the stage to unsung heroes engaging the nation with great music-making.

This year’s shortlist presents a powerful picture of excellence and innovation nationwide, and classical music reflecting and keeping pace with contemporary issues:

Two shortlisted initiatives celebrate and empower disabled musicians: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Resound and the British Paraorchestra’s The Nature of Why.

As debate ensues about gender equality among composers, four of seven shortlisted composers this year are female: Anna Meredith, Clara Iannotta, Rebecca Saunders, Tansy Davies.

Multiple nominees see classical musicians embarking on impactful collaborations with the community: Welsh National Opera joining forces with the Welsh Refugee Council for its Freedom Season; Streetwise Opera and Bath Philharmonia empowering the homeless and young carers respectively; Birmingham Opera Company’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Sir James MacMillan’s Ayrshire festival The Cumnock Tryst uniting amateur and professional performers.

Danish composer Per Nørgård’s Symphony No. 3 gets recognition a remarkable 44 years since its composition, following its UK premiere by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2018.

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason receives his first RPS Award nomination, having received the RPS-Duet Prize for promising young players in 2016, shortly before he went on to win BBC Young Musician.

Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is shortlisted for the Conductor Award for the third consecutive year.

Winners are announced at the RPS Awards on Thursday 28 November 2019, held for the first time at Battersea Arts Centre in London, and presented in association with BBC Radio 3.

New RPS Chief Executive James Murphy says ‘The RPS Awards are a fantastic chance for music lovers nationally to discover who has made an extraordinary impact in the last year, and who to follow in the years ahead. There are so many inspirational artists and initiatives to discover on this year’s shortlist, collectively illustrating the vibrant role classical music plays enriching the United Kingdom.’

At the Awards presentation in November, two further honours will be announced: the newest recipient of the coveted RPS Gold Medal, the highest honour in music, which has been awarded to outstanding musicians since 1870 and whose recipients include the late Jessye Norman, Dame Mitsuko Uchida, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Kathleen Ferrier, Edward Elgar and Johannes Brahms.

The RPS will also reveal the winner of its brand new Gamechanger Award for an individual, group or organisation who has done inspirational work breaking new ground in classical music.

The 30th RPS Awards coincide with the Society launching all-new Membership intended to foster greater curiosity and pride around classical music in the UK.


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