The nominees have been announced for this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards, celebrating the remarkable achievements of artists and record labels over the last year.


21 nominated recordings have been announced from across seven categories, each chosen by an expert panel of BBC Music Magazine critics, who worked through over the 197 recordings that were awarded five-star reviews in 2020, many of which can be found on our round-up of the best classical albums released last year.

There a a tranche of new recordings and interpretations of old favourites in this year's line-up, with pianist Kevin Kenner's own arrangements of Chopin's Piano Concertos for piano and string quartet; the first ever complete recording of Lully's 1677 opera Isis from Les Talens Lyriques and world premiere recordings of Strauss's Sonata in F, written when the composer was just 16, and Malcolm Arnold's The Dancing Master, which was originally commissioned for television in the 1950s but was never revived professionally.

Also on this year's list of nominations are a few familiar favourites including violinist Tasmin Little, who in 2019 won the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year Award, as well as other previous winners and nominees including Joyce DiDonato, violinist Alina Ibragimova, pianist Steven Osborne, mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, and conductor Vladimir Jurowski, who receives two nominations this year. There are also debut performances from artists such as Egyptian soprano Fatma Said, who dazzles in her first recording of songs by Egyptian, French and Spanish composers.

‘It’s with absolute delight that we present the nominations for this year’s awards,’ says BBC Music Magazine’s editor Oliver Condy. ‘Imaginative releases of unknown operas, song recitals, chamber discoveries and revelatory performances of well-known repertoire, each album a lifetime of listening pleasure.’

To listen to this year’s nominated recordings and cast your votes, click on the links below to go directly to the category of your choice.

The jury for this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards was chaired by reviews editor Michael Beek, and included critics Andrew McGregor, Erik Levi, Jessica Duchen and Martin Cotton.

More on this year’s nominated recordings can be found in the March issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale now.

Voting for this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards is now open and will close on 18 March. The winners will be announced in April – the details of which are yet to be announced.

The full list of nominated recordings:


Fountains of Rome; Pines of Rome; Roman Festivals
Sinfonia of London/John Wilson
Chandos CHSA5261

Complete Symphonies
HR Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
Deutsche Grammophon 483 8336

CPE Bach • Beethoven
CPE Bach: Symphonies Wq175 & 183/4; Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck
Harmonia Mundi HMM902420


Violin Concertos 1 & 2
Alina Ibragimova (violin); State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’/Vladimir Jurowski
Hyperion CDA68313

Piano Concertos (arr. chamber)
Kevin Kenner (piano); Apollon Musagète Quartett
Fryderyk Chopin Institute NIFCCD0220

Brahms • R Schumann
Brahms: Double Concerto*; R Schumann: Violin Concerto
Antje Weithaas (violin), *Max Hornung (cello); NDR Radio Phil/Andrew Manze
CPO 555 172-2


Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano) et al; Il Pomo d’Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev
Erato 9029533658

Ève-Maud Hubeaux (mezzo-soprano) et al; Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset
Aparté AP216

The Dancing Master
Ed Lyon (tenor), Eleanor Dennis (soprano) et al; BBC Concert Orchestra/John Andrews
Resonus RES10269


Chanson d’Amour
Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Alexandre Tharaud (piano)
Erato 9029522427

El Nour
Fatma Said (soprano) et al
Warner Classics 9029523360

Das Lied von der Erde
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) et al; Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Vladimir Jurowski
Pentatone PTC 5186 760


Masses – Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie; Missa D’ung aultre amer; Missa Faysant regretz
The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips Gimell CDGIM051

Various Artists; Dunedin Consort/John Butt
Linn Records CKD 599

All Night Vigil; Sacred Choral Works
Latvian Radio Choir/Sigvards Klava
Ondine ODE 1352-2


Amy Beach • Elgar
Beach: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 67; Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84
Garrick Ohlsson (piano); Takács Quartet
Hyperion CDA68295

British Violin Sonatas, Vol. 3
Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (piano)
Chandos CHAN 20133

R Strauss
Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 6; Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1; Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3; Du meines Herzens Kronelein, Op. 21 No. 2; Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4 etc
Raphaela Gromes (cello), Julien Riem (piano)
Sony Classical 19439718832


Solo II
Tabea Zimmermann (viola)
Myrios MYR026

Piano Sonatas Nos 6-8
Steven Osborne (piano)
Hyperion CDA68298


R Schumann
Variations and Sonatas
Elisabeth Leonskaja (piano)
eaSonus EAS 29407


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.