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2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Award Winners Announced

Violinist Nicola Benedetti, composer Dani Howard, and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston are among the winners


The 2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards were held earlier this month at London’s Wigmore Hall, celebrating the presence and achievements of musicians throughout the pandemic.

"For so many of us, music has been a lifeline through the last eighteen months," RPS Chairman John Gilhooly said. "It’s an honour for the Royal Philharmonic Society to salute the brilliance and resilience of musicians nationally through the pandemic, giving the best of themselves for others, at times of immense personal challenge.

"This year’s RPS Awards winners are representative of countless music-makers across the UK whom we should all treasure: they have collectively kept our spirits high and will continue to play an invaluable, central role in the nation’s recovery," he added.

The Impact Award — for initiatives that prove music’s vital, empowering role in society — went to English National Opera’s ENO Breathe program, drawing on the expertise of opera singers and colleagues at Imperial College Healthcare to help hundreds of long-Covid sufferers across the UK positively address their breathing and anxiety.

Following the success of her Benedetti Foundation Virtual Sessions during the pandemic, violinist Nicola Benedetti received the Instrumental Award for her work as an artist, educator, and advocate creating inspiring online content for thousands of young musicians worldwide.

For the first time in RPS Awards history, the public was asked to choose one of the winners. Hilary Campbell and the Bristol Choral Society were voted the winners of the newly introduced Inspiration Award, given to a non-professional ensemble or individual often overlooked by other awards.

Other winners that also illustrated classical music enriching lives across the nation include: the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia received the Series and Events Award; Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Ryan Bancroft received the Conductor Award; Scotland’s Dunedin Consort received the Ensemble Award; and Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason from Nottingham received the Storytelling Award for her inspirational book ‘House of Music’ about raising a remarkable musical family.

Additionally, Liverpudlian mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston received the Singer Award, Macclesfield composer Laura Bowler received the Chamber-Scale Composition Award for her defiant warning about climate change Wicked Problems, whilst composer Dani Howard received the Large-Scale Composition Award for her Trombone Concerto written especially for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and star soloist Peter Moore.

The ceremony was filmed and will be streamed on the RPS website from Tuesday, November 9, with coverage also broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Monday, November 8.

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