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RPS Awards announce 2024 shortlist and new location

Shortlists are announced today for the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards, celebrating classical music and musicians nationwide.

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  • By Paul Nichols
  • 30 Jan 2024
  • min read

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.

RPS Chief Executive James Murphy says: ‘Given the truly national story they represent, we’re so pleased to be taking the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards out of the capital for the very first time. We’ll be venturing elsewhere in years to come, and back to London of course, but this year Manchester is the ideal destination. With big wins last year for Manchester Collective and Manchester Camerata, and nominations this year for local heroes The Sunday Boys, Manchester Classical, and Olympias Music Foundation, classical music pulses through the city’s veins. We’ve received such a wonderful welcome from our hosts at the Royal Northern College of Music, and – with tickets from just £10 - we invite Greater Manchester’s music-lovers to come and join in the festivities.’




Chamber-Scale Composition
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
Alice Farnham
Alpesh Chauhan 
François-Xavier Roth

supported by Steinberg’s Dorico
BBC Singers
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective
Riot Ensemble

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
Derwent Brass
Glasgow Madrigirls
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

Large-Scale Composition
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
Aldeburgh Festival
Manchester Classical
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

Young Artist
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