John Williams announced as 2020 RPS Gold Medal recipient

The Royal Philharmonic Society has revealed the winners of this year's RPS Awards, with prizes going to John Williams, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Jane Glover, among others

Film composer John Williams wins 2020 RPS Gold Medal

This year’s Royal Philharmonic Society Awards have been announced this evening in a virtual ceremony hosted by RPS chairman John Gilhooly. Film composer John Williams – cover star of our Christmas issue, out next week – was awarded the prestigious RPS Gold Medal, which has been awarded to outstanding musicians since 1870, when it was launched to celebrate the centenary of Beethoven‘s birth.

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Previous recipients of the RPS Gold Medal include Brahms, Henry Wood, Delius, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bax, Sibelius, Richard Strauss, and in more recent years Simon Rattle, Martha Argerich, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jessye Norman and Sofia Gubaidulina.

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In the ceremony, director and producer Steven Spielberg presented a special congratulatory message to Williams, his longterm collaborator.

Other recipients of RPS Awards this year include cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who won the Young Artists Award; Jane Glover, who took home the Gamechanger Award for her work with bringing women composers to the stage; and Dalia Stasevska, the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s principal guest conductor, who won the Conductor Award. You can read an interview with Dalia Stasevska in the Christmas issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale next Thursday.

The RPS introduced the Inspiration Awards this year to celebrate the organisations and individuals who had gone above and beyond to bring music to the nation during lockdown. For the first time, nominations were open to the public, who decided the shortlist. The winners of the inaugural Inspiration Awards were Concerteenies, Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme, The Opera Story, Stay At Home Choir, Virtual Benedetti Sessions and #UriPosteJukeBox with violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Tom Poster, who will be featured in the January 2021 issue of BBC Music Magazine. 

The winners are listed in full below:

Chamber-Scale Composition: Naomi Pinnock – I am, I am

Concert Series and Events: Venus Unwrapped – Kings Place

Conductor: Dalia Stasevska

Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble

Impact: Sound Young Minds – City of London Sinfonia

Instrumentalist: Lawrence Power (viola)

Large-Scale Composition: Frank Denyer – The Fish that Became the Sun (Songs of the Dispossessed)

Opera and Music Theatre: the Turn of the Screw – Garsington Opera

Singer: Natalya Romaniw (soprano)

Storytelling: Rough Ideas by Stephen Hough

Young Artists: Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello)

Inspiration: Concerteenies; Diocese of Leeds – Schools Singing Programme; Stay At Home Choir; The Opera Story’s Episodes; #UrioPosteJukeBox; Virtual Benedetti Sessions

Gamechanger: Jane Glover (conductor)

Gold Medal: John Williams

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Read our reviews of the latest John Williams recordings here