At the RPS Music Awards this month, alongside our usual array of awards we also marked our bicentenary by presenting five special RPS Honorary Memberships. These international music makers have put music at the heart of some of the most challenged communities in the world, supported young musicians and made a profound difference to diversity in music making. The short videos below offer a a window onto the vital work of these extraordinary people.
Our new Honorary Members are:
► Armand Diangienda, a former airline pilot who founded a symphony orchestra in one of the poorest cities on earth, Kinshasa, DR of the Congo
► Dr Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of Afghanistan’s first national music school in Kabul
► Rosemary Nalden, British viola player and founder of Buskaid, who persuaded distinguished musicians to busk at British railway stations to raise funds for a string project in South Africa, and now directs the thriving stringed instrument school in Diepkloof, Soweto.
► Ricardo Castro, International pianist (and former winner of the Leeds Piano Competition) who established a flourishing youth music programme in Bahià, Brazil.
► Aaron P. Dworkin, the founder of the Sphinx Organization, which gives opportunities and assistance to aspiring Black and Latino musicians in the USA. Sphinx’s mission is for classical music to embrace the diversity inherent in the society that it strives to serve.
Our blog might have fallen rather silent over the last few months, but the RPS certainly has not…!
The annual RPS Music Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of live classical music, took place at the Dorchester Hotel on 14 May. We were thrilled that Dame Janet Baker CH presented the Awards to this year’s winners across the 13 categories:
Audiences and Engagement: Universe of Sound (Philharmonia Orchestra) Chamber Music and Song: Music in the Round Chamber-Scale Composition: Rebecca Saunders: Fletch Concert Series and Festivals: New Music 20×12 (PRS for Music Foundation) Conductor: Kirill Karabits Creative Communication: Classic FM Ensemble: Britten Sinfonia Instrumentalist: Steven Osborne Large-Scale Composition: Gerald Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest Learning and Participation: Cycle Song (Proper Job Theatre Company and Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir) Opera and Music Theatre: Mittwoch aus Licht (Birmingham Opera Company) Singer: Sarah Connolly Young Artists: Heath Quartet
Springtime at RPS headquarters: the floor has become a jigsaw puzzle of overflowing cardboard boxes, office life revolves around an excel chart of such intricate tables and colour schemes it is worthy of a place in Tate Modern, and the RPS is single-handedly boosting M&S biscuit sales to record highs. It can only mean one thing: the jury meetings for the prestigious RPS Music Awards are in full flow.
Throughout February and March, leading representatives from all walks of musical life come together to consider the nominations across thirteen different categories. The fiercely coveted awards are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK, honouring performers, composers, inspirational arts organisations and events. Whilst we don’t underestimate the careful consideration that goes into submitting a nomination, we encourage all proposals which reflect the rich variety of quality music-making across the country. After all, if an artist or organisation isn’t nominated, they can’t win!
So who could be walking away with a silver lyre at this year’s awards ceremony? Sean Rafferty will have the low-down on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, where the shortlisted nominations will be announced on Tuesday 17 April 2012. And who knows… by then we might just have caught a glimpse of the floor again!