2023 RPS Awards: Abel Selaocoe and Anna Lapwood among winners
Manchester Collective, Martyn Brabbins and the Torbay Symphony Orchestra are also among this year's RPS Award winners
The winners of the 2023 RPS Awards were announced at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 March. The category winners were:
Ensemble Award: Manchester Collective
Manchester Collective received the Ensemble Award for their transformative performances attracting new audiences from Birkenhead to the BBC Proms.
As our columnist Richard Morrison has noted in a review for The Times, Manchester Collective is a ‘free-wheeling ensemble that can go in a blink from the slow movement of a late Beethoven quartet to a selection of Scottish fiddle tunes – and play both as though steeped in the repertoire from birth’.
Gamechanger Award: Anna Lapwood
The 27-year-old organist and choral director was recognised for her remarkable artistry and advocacy, and for using social media to expand the reach of classical music. She was praised by RPS Chief Executive James Murphy ‘for inspiring generations of younger musicians to see how they too might rise up to meet the world.’
Chamber-scale Composition: Ben Nobuto: Serenity 2.0
A commission for Manchester Collective, Serenity 2.0 by British/Japanese composer Nobuto evokes the ‘feelings of dread alongside joy’ evoked by physical and virtual spaces such as clubs or Instagram.
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
Music director of English National Opera, and conductor of an acclaimed Vaughan Williams symphony cycle with the BBC Symphony Orchestra: 2021-22 was a busy and fruitful year for Martyn Brabbins.
Impact: The Multi-Story Orchestra: The Endz
A collaboration with teenagers from Peckham, TMSO’s The Endz uses rap, song and spoken word to tell the story of two friends torn apart by gang violence.
Inspiration: Torbay Symphony Orchestra
The Devon band’s busy schedule includes chamber and orchestral concerts (sometimes of specially commissioned works), as well as an impressive commitment to music education in schools.
Instrumentalist: Abel Selaocoe
The cellist, vocalist, composer and communicator (and double 2023 BBC Music Magazine Awards nominee) made great waves in 2021-22, with his superb debut recording Where is Home and willingness to take risks and cross genres.
Large-scale Composition: Gavin Higgins: Concerto Grosso for Brass Band and Orchestra
Premiered by the Tredegar Town Band at the 2022 BBC Proms, Higgins’ large-scale orchestral work is, in its composer’s words, a ‘love letter’ to the brass band world.
Opera and Music Theatre: Theatre of Sound / Opera Ventures: Bluebeard’s Castle
This poignant reimagining of Bartók’s opera takes place in modern suburbia – and replaces the original’s secrets and deceptions with a happy marriage clouded by dementia.
Series and Events: Leeds Piano Trail
This innovative sculpture trail-cum-street concert series saw several sculptures, created from recycled pianos, placed around the city alongside artist- and community-decorated playable pianos.
Singer: Anna Dennis, soprano
Described by The Times as a ‘delectable soprano and a serene, ever-sentient presence’, Anna is especially noted for her work in both modern and Baroque repertoire.
Storytelling: Manchester Camerata: Untold: Keith
This moving and uplifting short film follows Keith, who lives with young-onset dementia. We learn how the condition affects Keith’s everyday life – and how music can provide light in difficult times.
Young Artist: Timothy Ridout, viola
The young violist enjoyed a packed and successful 2021-22, including recordings of Prokofiev, Schumann, Berlioz and Mendelssohn, plus live performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and others.
Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.