Alumni shortlisted for prestigious classical music awards
The Royal Philharmonic Society has shortlisted several RNCM alumni for prestigious prizes at its annual awards.
Contenders in this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society Awards (RPS Awards) include renowned conductor Alpesh Chauhan OBE, vocalist/composer Alice Zawadzki, and Jo Yee Cheung’s Manchester-based charity Olympias Music Foundation – shortlisted in the Impact category for the organisation’s work championing diversity in music.
LGBTQ+ choir The Sunday Boys, a low voice singing group founded by RNCM composition graduate Michael Betteridge in 2016, is up for the Inspiration award – a category decided by public vote. RNCM graduates also feature in every Ensemble shortlisted, including Riot Ensemble whose founding Co-Artistic Director Adam Swayne is also Deputy Head of Keyboard Studies at the College.
The Manchester Classical Festival, a collaboration between The Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, and RNCM alumni Manchester Collective, will compete in the Series and Events category.
RNCM Innovate Fellow Jasdeep Singh Degun has also been shortlisted in the Instrumentalist category and for his Large-Scale Composition, Orpheus. The virtuoso sitarist will work with RNCM students for the next two years to enhance their understanding of musical cultures outside the Western tradition through workshops and collaborative projects.
RPS Chief Executive James Murphy said these extraordinary artists prove that ‘classical music pulses through the city’s veins’ as he plans to bring the event up to Manchester after 34 years in London. The conservatoire will host the glittering 2024 ceremony on the event’s first trip outside of the capital since 1989. It is now regarded as ‘the biggest night in UK classical music’ and will be co-presented by BBC3’s Elizabeth Alker and Linton Stephens – an RNCM graduate in bassoon.
The RPS Awards debut in Manchester on Tuesday 5 March and tickets, starting at £10 (plus booking fee), are available here. The event will also be available to watch on the RPS website from Tuesday 12 March, and a BBC Radio 3 special broadcast featuring the music of the winners and nominees will broadcast on Wednesday 6 March, at 7.30pm.
Speaking about the decision to bring the event to the RNCM, RPS Chief Executive James Murphy said: ‘Given the truly national story they represent, we’re so pleased to be taking the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards out of the capital for the very first time. We’ll be venturing elsewhere in years to come, and back to London of course, but this year Manchester is the ideal destination.
‘With big wins last year for Manchester Collective and Manchester Camerata, and nominations this year for local heroes The Sunday Boys, Manchester Classical, and Olympias Music Foundation, classical music pulses through the city’s veins. We’ve received such a wonderful welcome from our hosts at the Royal Northern College of Music, and we invite Greater Manchester’s music-lovers to come and join in the festivities.’
The full shortlist and categories are:
Ben Lunn – History needs…
Laurence Osborn – TOMB!
Nilufar Habibian – Az nahāyate tāriki (From the deep end of darkness)
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective
Call of the Mountains – Drake Music Scotland
Re:Sound – Streetwise Opera
Music in Secondary Schools Trust
Olympias Music Foundation
Inspiration (cast your public vote here)
Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus
The Sunday Boys
Ayanna Witter-Johnson – cello
Jasdeep Singh Degun – sitar
Pavel Kolesnikov – piano
Cassandra Miller – I cannot love without trembling
Jasdeep Singh Degun – Orpheus
Kaija Saariaho – Innocence
Noriko Koide – Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain
Opera and Music Theatre
Chornobyldorf – Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Dialogues des Carmélites – Glyndebourne Opera
Innocence – The Royal Opera
Series and Events
Oratorio of Hope – London Borough of Croydon
Alice Zawadzki – vocalist, songwriter
Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha – soprano
Nicky Spence – tenor
Composer of the Week – BBC Radio 3
Eastern Classical – BBC Radio 4
Quartet – Leah Broad
Aaron Azunda Akugbo – trumpet
Lotte Betts-Dean – mezzo soprano
Ryan Corbett – accordion
30 January 2024