Billed by The Sunday Times as the ‘biggest night in UK classical music’, the RPS Awards shine a light on brilliant musical individuals, groups and initiatives inspiring communities across the UK. From star soloists, to heroic amateur musicians, the RPS Awards tell a vibrant, vital and uplifting story about classical music’s resonance, impact and reach.
For the very first time, the RPS Awards will be presented out of London, in Manchester: a city that resounds with musical creativity and is home to two of last year’s RPS Award-winners, Manchester Collective and Manchester Camerata.
Nominees collectively illustrate the strength and vibrancy of music-making nationwide, with Scottish nominees including Drake Music Scotland, Glasgow Madrigirls, tenor Nicky Spence and accordion player Ryan Corbett; Manchester-based nominations for Manchester Classical, Olympias Music Foundation and LGBTQ+ choir The Sunday Boys, plus nominations for Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, Aldeburgh Festival, Derbyshire’s Derwent Brass, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Composer Kaija Saariaho, an icon of contemporary music who sadly died in 2023, is recognised in two categories for her opera Innocence: for Large-Scale Composition, and in the Opera and Music Theatre category for its UK premiere at The Royal Opera.
Of the 19 individual performers and composers shortlisted, 42% represent the global majority, including cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Music Director of the Birmingham Opera Company Alpesh Chauhan, and sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun. A number of the nominated organisations also celebrate diversity including Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective and Olympias Music Foundation.
Disabled artists are also celebrated, with nominations for composer Ben Lunn’s History needs…, written for left-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy, and Call of the Mountains by Drake Music Scotland, dedicated to enabling disabled musicians to fulfil their potential.
The UK’s constellation of amateur groups is also recognised with the Inspiration Award, the winner of which is decided by public vote from a shortlist comprising Derwent Brass, Glasgow Madrigirls, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and The Sunday Boys. Visit the RPS website by 10am on Friday 2 February to discover more about the nominees and cast your vote.
2024 RPS AWARDS SHORTLISTS
supported by Boosey & Hawkes
in memory of Tony Fell
|Ben Lunn – History needs…
Laurence Osborn – TOMB!
Nilufar Habibian – Az nahāyate tāriki (From the deep end of darkness)
supported by Schott Music
supported by Steinberg’s Dorico
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective
supported by Oxford University Press Music
|Call of the Mountains – Drake Music Scotland
Re:Sound – Streetwise Opera
Music in Secondary Schools Trust
Olympias Music Foundation
supported by Presto Music
Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus
The Sunday Boys
supported by ISM, the Independent Society of Musicians
|Ayanna Witter-Johnson – cello
Jasdeep Singh Degun – sitar
Pavel Kolesnikov – piano
supported by the Boltini Trust
|Cassandra Miller – I cannot love without trembling
Jasdeep Singh Degun – Orpheus
Kaija Saariaho – Innocence
Noriko Koide – Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain
|Opera and Music Theatre
supported by Wise Music Classical
|Chornobyldorf – Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Dialogues des Carmélites – Glyndebourne Opera
Innocence – The Royal Opera
|Series and Events
supported by Warner Classics
Oratorio of Hope – London Borough of Croydon
supported by Jenny Hodgson
|Alice Zawadzki – vocalist, songwriter
Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha – soprano
Nicky Spence – tenor
supported by Martin Randall Travel
|Composer of the Week – BBC Radio 3
Eastern Classical – BBC Radio 4
Quartet – Leah Broad
supported by Sir Simon and Victoria
Lady Robey CBE
|Aaron Azunda Akugbo – trumpet
Lotte Betts-Dean – mezzo soprano
Ryan Corbett – accordion
The RPS Awards will take place at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) on Tuesday 5 March. The event, co-sponsored by PRS for Music, will feature performances from some of this year’s nominees. BBC Radio 3 will present a special broadcast featuring music of the winners and nominees at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6 March, and it will be filmed to watch on the RPS website from 12 March.
www.royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk @RoyalPhilSoc #RPSAwards