RPS announces honorary membership for international music makers

Five musical innovators across four continents recognised

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BuskaidPhoto: Graham De Lacy

The Royal Philharmonic Society is to award honorary membership to five music makers who have used music to bring about social change around the world.

The award-winners include Armand Diangienda, who has set up one of Africa’s only symphony orchestras, L'Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ricardo Castro whose youth music project in Brazil is modeled on the famous ‘El Sistema’ programme of Venezuela.

British viola player Rosemary Nalden also becomes an honorary member in recognition of her work setting up the Buskaid Soweto String Project in South Africa. Dr Ahmad Naser Sarmast, who set up the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and the Revival Of Afghan Music (ROAM) project, is recognised for his role in rebuilding music education in Afghanistan.

The final music maker to be made an honorary member of the RPS is Aaron P Dworkin, who founded the Sphinx Organisation, which aims to support Black and Latino classical musicians in the USA.

‘The Royal Philharmonic Society has chosen to honour these musicians who understand the fundamental importance of culture in society and its potential to change lives,' said chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society John Gilhooly. 'In the UK the arts are often regarded as an unnecessary luxury. These awards are a salutary reminder of why culture matters.’

The honorary memberships will be presented at the RPS Awards on Tuesday 14 May and we’ll have a round-up of all the other winners in the June issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale 15 May.

And don’t miss Radio 3’s coverage of the ceremony at 2pm on Sunday 19 May.