Birtwistle makes it five as RPS awards are announced

- 13 May 2014

Harrison Birtwistle: Record-breaking fifth RPS award Photo: Simon Jay Price

Harrison Birtwistle: Record-breaking fifth RPS award
Photo: Simon Jay Price

Sir Harrison Birtwistle has become the most honoured musician in RPS Awards history, adding a fifth with this year’s win of the Chamber-Scale Composition award for The Moth Requiem (first performed in the UK by the BBC Singers at the 2013 Proms).

The RPS Awards for Music, in 13 categories, were announced at a ceremony hosted by Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny and Sara Mohr-Pietsch at the Dorchester Hotel on 13 May.

In his address, John Gilhooly, chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, called 2013 ‘a great year’ for music, but warned against ‘inertia and complacency’:

‘2013 was a great year for classical music in the UK,’ said Gilhooly. ‘It was a year when the grand anniversaries &#8210 the bicentenaries of Wagner and Verdi and the centenary of Benjamin Britten &#8210 were celebrated in style, and this is reflected in the list of winners this evening. 2013 also brought us fantastic contemporary music that drew impressive audiences to 20th- and 21st-century music. Work on and off stage embraced new technology, and it was a year when distinguished names lined up alongside astounding younger talent, marking the way to a bright, adventurous future for classical music.

‘Mostly, however, this was a year about audiences; what unites all our winners is their desire to inspire existing enthusiasts and to reach out to new audiences with a boldness founded on passion and compellingly brilliant musicality.

‘I often feel that classical music is underrated in this country, and whilst celebrating the success of a wonderful year, I think we should not be blasé. We need to say, loud and clear, that music matters, shout loudly about outstanding talent, great concerts, inspirational opportunities to participate in music &#8210 show how it makes a difference &#8210 and understand that inertia and complacency can be every bit as detrimental to culture as a challenging economic climate.’

As previously announced, Sir John Tomlinson was awarded the RPS Gold Medal.


RPS Music Award for Conductor &#8210 Daniel Barenboim

RPS Music Award for Singer &#8210 Joyce DiDonato

RPS Music Award for Instrumentalist &#8210 Patricia Kopatchinskaja

RPS Music Award for Ensemble &#8210 London Philharmonic Orchestra

RPS Music Award for Young Artists &#8210 Igor Levit

RPS Music Award for Large-Scale Composition &#8210 George Benjamin

RPS Music Award for Chamber-Scale Composition &#8210 Harrison Birtwistle

RPS Music Award for Opera and Music Theatre &#8210 Welsh National Opera

RPS Music Award for Chamber Music and Song &#8210 Champs Hill

RPS Music Award for Learning and Participation &#8210 Glyndebourne: Imago

RPS Music Award for Audiences and Engagement &#8210 Britten-Pears Foundation: Britten100

RPS Music Award for Concerts Series and Festivals &#8210 Southbank Centre: The Rest is Noise

RPS Music Award for Creative Communication &#8210 Touch Press

The Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal was presented to Sir John Tomlinson


Full citations available at 

A programme devoted to the RPS Music Awards will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Sunday 18 May at 10pm


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