The 2023 RPS Awards winners have been announced
Yesterday, 1st March 2023, the 2023 RPS Awards took place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. The event featured live performances from cellist and 2020 RPS Young Artist Award winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Manchester Collective and the soprano Anna Dennis who received this year’s Singer Award.
The Awards were hosted by Hannah French and Petroc Trelawny, presenters from the longstanding Awards partner BBC Radio 3. The station will broadcast a special RPS Awards programme at 7pm on Monday 6 March, and available for a further month on BBC Sounds, giving audiences the opportunity to hear more music from this year’s winners. Moreover, the Royal Philharmonic Society will upload a film of the entire ceremony on their website on Tuesday 9 March 2023.
In his speech, RPS Chairman John Gilhooly conveyed the urgent concerns and convictions of the music profession following Arts Council England’s controversial funding review. He said ‘Classical music policy and strategy is confused and all over the place – but our amazing resources and talents could work wonders if properly harnessed. An occasion like this allows us to send a message to government that we must cherish our composers, our musicians, and our proud musical heritage’. He called for a coordinated plan for live classical music and music education from government, saying ‘The arts are central to the international standing and character of the nation and bring in over £110 billion annually to the economy. We showed through the pandemic that we are central to the wellbeing and prosperity of our national life. Music’s worth has never been clearer. We need open, honest, and reasoned dialogue now with government and funders.’ His speech was definitely a highlight of the night, with users on Twitter referring to Gilhooly as ‘a national treasure’ and his speech ‘just excellent’.
The RPS Large-Scale Composition Award went to Gavin Higgins for his Concerto Grosso for Brass Band and Orchestra. The news was met with enthusiasm on social media, with some expressing how much they liked the composition when they heard it at the BBC Proms in 2022.
Martyn Brabbins, who conducted a highly acclaimed performance of Scott of the Antarctic with BBC Symphony Orchestra in March 2022, won the Conductor Award last night. Brabbins will be conducting the London Sinfonietta at their Birtwistle tribute concert this Sunday 7th March 2023.
Theatre of Sound and Opera Venture won the Opera and Music Theatre Award for Bluebeard’s Castle, performed by players from the virtuosic London Sinfonietta and internationally renowned singers Susan Bullock, Gerald Finley, Michael Mayes and Gweneth Ann Rand.
27-year-old organist and choral director Anna Lapwood received the coveted Gamechanger Award for her remarkable artistry and advocacy, and the extraordinary social media following she has generated for classical music. Her win was highly celebrated on social media by classical music audiences. On their Twitter account, The Royal Albert Hall stated ‘Congrats to our Associate Artist Anna Lapwood, you never cease to amaze us‘.
Other winners included the South African cellist Abel Selaocoe who received the Instrumentalist Award following the release of his acclaimed debut album and mesmeric performances drawing capacity audiences back to concert venues following the pandemic, and the young British-Japanese composer Ben Nobuto who won one of two awards for composition for his electrifying SERENITY 2.0.
The Impact Award went to The Multi-Story Orchestra’s remarkable production The Endz, created by a group of young people from Peckham who – following the death of fellow teenager Malcolm Mide-Madariola who was killed standing up for a friend in a knife fight – wanted to express their feelings and be heard through music.
A complete list of this year’s Awards follows. Click the title of each award to find out more.
Chamber-Scale Composition – Ben Nobuto – SERENITY 2.0
supported by Boosey & Hawkes in memory of Tony Fell
Gamechanger – Anna Lapwood
supported by Signum Classics
Impact – The Endz – The Multi-Story Orchestra
supported by OUP Music in its centenary year
Inspiration – Torbay Symphony Orchestra
supported by Warner Classics
Instrumentalist – Abel Selaocoe – cello
supported by Lark Music
Large-Scale Composition – Gavin Higgins – Concerto Grosso for Brass Band and Orchestra
supported by The Boltini Trust
Opera and Music Theatre – Bluebeard’s Castle – Theatre of Sound and Opera Ventures
supported by Jenny Hodgson
Series and Events – Leeds Piano Trail
supported by Decca
Singer – Anna Dennis – soprano
supported by ISM, the Independent Society of Musicians
Storytelling – Untold – Keith – Manchester Camerata
supported by Schott Music
Young Artist – Timothy Ridout – viola
supported by Sir Simon and Victoria, Lady Robey OBE