Nominees revealed for BBC Music Magazine Awards 2020

Premiere recordings and underrated masterpieces lead the way in the shortlist of the 15th annual BBC Music Magazine Awards


BBC Music Magazine has announced the shortlist for its 2020 Awards. With 21 nominees across seven categories, the expert panel drew their choices from the 175 recordings that were awarded five-star reviews in 2019.


The 15th annual BBC Music Magazine Awards are the only classical music awards voted for by the public. To listen to the nominated recordings and cast your votes, visit

The nominees are divided into seven categories: Orchestral, Concerto, Opera, Choral, Vocal, Chamber and Instrumental. 

With a clutch of premiere recordings in this year’s shortlist, there’s no doubt 2019 was a year for superb new music. The chamber category features Orange – an album of string quartets by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, while Gabriel Jackson’s retelling of the Passion story is up for the Choral Award. Elsewhere, Elizabeth Kenny’s Ars Longa – an album of old and new music for the theorbo, nominated in the Instrumental Category – features two premiere recordings of works by Nico Muhly and Benjamin Oliver, both written specifically for Kenny. 

This year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards also celebrates new recordings of works by underrated masterpieces and lesser-known composers. This is particularly the case in the Orchestral Category, which features stunning performances of Weinberg’s Symphony No. 21 by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Korngold’s Symphony in F sharp by John Wilson and the newly revived Sinfonia of London, and symphonies by Lutosławski performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu. Also in the shortlist, Kirill Gerstein performs Busoni’s extraordinary piano concerto, Markus Maskuniitty brings us a selection of horn concertos, and Opera Rara champions Puccini’s first opera, Le Willis

The full list of nominees can be seen below. For details on how to vote, visit our Awards page here.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Kings Place on Tuesday 28 April. As well as the public awards, there are also four jury awards: Premiere Recording, Newcomer of the Year, DVD of the Year and Recording of the Year. The BBC Music Magazine team will also choose its Music Personality of the Year, an award first given to violinist Tasmin Little in 2019.


Symphonies Nos 2 & 21
Gidon Kremer (violin); Kremerata Baltica; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
Deutsche Grammophon 483 6566   88.59 mins (2 discs) 

Symphony in F sharp; Theme and Variations; Straussiana
Sinfonia of London/John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5220   59.17 mins  

Symphonies Nos 1 & 4; Jeux vénitiens
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
Ondine ODE 1320-5   57:21 mins


Piano Concerto in C major
Kirill Gerstein (piano); Men of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus; Boston Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo
Myrios MYR024   71:29 mins

Glière • Saint-Saëns • R Schumann
R Schumann: Konzertstück for Four Horns*; Adagio and Allegro; Saint-Saëns: Morceau de concert; Glière: Horn Concerto
Markus Maskuniitty (horn); Martin Schöpfer, Kristofer Oberg, Monica Berenguer Caro (horns)*; Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Sakari Oramo
Ondine ODE 1339-2   59:08 mins

Dvořák * Martinů
Dvořák: Piano Concerto in G minor; Martinů: Piano Concerto No. 4, ‘Incantation’
Ivo Kahánek (piano); Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša
Supraphon SU 4236-2   59.24 mins 


Le Willis
Ermonela Jaho, Arsen Soghomonyan, Brian Mulligan (voices); Opera Rara Chorus; London Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Elder
Opera Rara ORC59   62.39 mins 

King Arthur
Anna Dennis, Mhairi Lawson, Rowan Pierce, Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Budd, James Way, Roderick Williams, Ashley Riches; Gabrieli Consort and Players/Paul McCreesh
Signum Classics SIGCD589   97.38 mins (2 discs)

Benjamin Bernheim, Véronique Gens, Andrew Foster-Williams, Jean-Sébastien Bou, Juliette Mars, Anas Séguin, Ingrid Perruche; Les Talens Lyriques; Flemish Radio Choir/Christophe Rousset
Bru Zane BZ 1037   173.48 mins (3 discs)


Italian Cantatas

Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Lea Desandre (mezzo-soprano); Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle Haïm
Erato 9029563362   96:10 mins (2 discs)

Si J’ai Aimé
Songs by Saint-Saëns, Bordes, Berlioz, Dubois, Massenet et al
Sandrine Piau (soprano); Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin
Alpha Classics ALPHA 445   59.25 mins 

The Diary of One Who Disappeared; Ríkadla; Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs
Nicky Spence (tenor), Julius Drake (piano); Václava Housková (mezzo-soprano), VOICE, Victoria Samek (clarinet)
Hyperion CDA 68282   62.21 mins 


Bach Cantatas
H Bach: Ich danke dir Gott; JM Bach: Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ; Herr, der König freuet sich; JC Bach: Die Furcht des Herren; Herr, wende dich und sei mir gnädig; Es erhub sich ein streit; JS Bach Christ Lag in Todesbanden, BWV4
Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier
Ricercar RIC 401   66.30 mins 

Brockes-Passion HWV 48
Elizabeth Watts, Ruby Hughes (sopranos), Rachael Lloyd (mezzo-soprano), Tim Mead (countertenor), Robert Murray, Gwilym Bowen, Nicky Spence (tenors), Cody Quattlebaum, Morgan Pearse (bass-baritone); Choir and Orchestra of the Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr
Academy of Ancient Music AAM007   172 mins (3 discs)

Gabriel Jackson
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Emma Tring (soprano), Guy Cutting (tenor); Choir of Merton College, Oxford; Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas
Delphian DCD34222   69:01 mins


Ysaÿe • Franck • Vierne • L Boulanger
Ysaÿe: Poème Elégiaque; Franck: Violin Sonata in A; Vierne: Violin Sonata in G minor; Lili Boulanger: Nocturne
Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
Hyperion CDA 68204   78:29 mins

Caroline Shaw
Entr’acte; Valencia; Plan and Elevation; Punctum; Ritornello 2.sq.2.j.a; Limestone & Felt
Attacca Quartet
Nonesuch 7559-79260-9   60.97 mins 

Bartók * Veress
Veress: String Trio; Bartók: Piano Quintet in C
Barnabás Kelemen, Vilde Frang (violin), Katalin Kokas, Lawrence Power (viola), Nicolas Altstaedt (cello), Alexander Lonquich (piano)
Alpha Classics ALPHA 458   61.50 mins 


Bach to the Future
JS Bach: Musical Offering, BWV 1079: Ricercar a 6; Fugue in G minor, BWV 578; Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565; Chorale Prelude, BWV 721; Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV 542; Chorale Preludes, BWV 617 and BWV 727; Fantasia in G, BWV 572; Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
Olivier Latry (organ)
La Dolce Volta LDV69   77:37 mins

Ars Longa: Old and new music for theorbo
Works by Piccinini, James MacMillan, Kapsperger, Benjamin Oliver, De Visée and Nico Muhly
Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo)
Linn CKD 603   75.34 mins 


Piano Sonatas Nos 1 and 2; 24 Preludes, Op. 34; Nocturne from The Limped Stream
Andrey Gugnin (piano)
Hyperion CDA68267   79.27 mins