Conductor Kirill Karabits enjoys RPS Awards success

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Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and pianist Steven Osborne also recognised by the Royal Philharmonic Society

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The winners of the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2013 were announced at a ceremony yesterday, 14 May, and included conductor Kirill Karabits and a production of Stockhausen's opera Mittwoch aus Licht.

The Conductor Award - which is supported by BBC Music Magazine - went to Karabits for his performances with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In the judges citation the jury praised Karabits's 'determination to explore and excel'.

The Britten Sinfonia took the Ensemble Award and the Heath Quartet were named best Young Artists.

The prize for Large-Scale Composition went to Gerald Barry for his opera The Importance of Being Earnest and Rebecca Saunders won the Chamber-Scale Composition category for her work Fletch.

Birmingham Opera Company took the Opera Award for its ambitious staging of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht, a production which included a section in which members of a string quartet performed in four separate helicopters.

Other prize-winners included the Philharmonia Orchestra's The Universe of Sound project at the Science Museum in London and the New Music 20x12 commissioning project.

Speaking at the ceremony, held at the Dorchester Hotel, the chairman of the RPS, John Gilhooly, praised an 'outstanding year' in live music-making before turning to the Governement's current cuts to the arts sector. 

'Making money never has, and never should be, the driving force for great art,' he said. 'The Philharmonic Society sent Beethoven £100 on his deathbed to ease his penury, and commissioned Beethoven's 9th Symphony, not because they expected or even hoped for a blockbuster success, but because they, quite simply, wanted to hear more of his music.'

The annual Royal Philharmonic Society Awards celebrate live music-making in the UK and this year the society celebrates its 200th anniversary.

For more details on this year's RPS Award-winners, pick up a copy of the June issue of BBC Music Magazine - on sale now.