Projects that provide access to music were to the fore at this year’s RPS Music Awards, with Manchester Camerata, South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO) and East Neuk Festival all picking up prizes.
SWOYO – the UK’s only orchestra for disabled players of its kind – won in the Learning and Participation category, while Manchester Camerata – who work with people suffering from dementia and those on the autism spectrum – picked up the prestigious Ensemble prize. East Neuk Festival won in the Audience Engagement category for its collaboration with David Lang and 14-18 NOW on Memorial Ground, a piece that commemorates the Battle of the Somme.
Meanwhile the individual awards went to conductor Richard Farnes (Conductor), soprano Karita Mattila (Singer), violinist James Ehnes (Instrumentalist) and pianist Joseph Middleton (Young Artists).
Rebecca Saunders became the Society’s most decorated female composer, winning her third award for Skin (Small-Scale Composition), while Philip Venables won the Large-Scale Composition prize for his operatic adaptation of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis.
Other winners included Lammermuir Festival (Concert Series and Festivals), Opera North (Opera and Music Theatre), Fretwork (Chamber Music and Song) and Edward Dusinberre (Creative Communication).
The evening was also an opportunity to celebrate the power of live performance, with RPS launching its #LiveMusicIs social media campaign. Speaking at the awards dinner, RPS chair John Gilhooly said that “live music is priceless” and called on the audience to share what live music means to them.
BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a special RPS Music Awards programme, featuring highlights from the ceremony, interviews and music, on 14 May.