The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) has announced the shortlist for its 2019 Awards.


Among this year’s shortlisted nominees are Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cellist and winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year Award; music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; and Danish composer Per Nørgård’s Symphony No. 3, which received its UK premiere in 2018 by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, 44 years after it was originally composed.

The Awards, which will be held on Thursday 28 November at Battersea Arts Centre in London, will also include the presentation of the prestigious RPS Gold Medal, whose previous recipients include Simon Rattle, Leonard Bernstein and Edward Elgar, plus a brand new Gamechanger Award that will honour an individual, group or organisation for their inspirational ground-breaking work in classical music.

‘There are so many inspirational artists and initiatives to discover on this year’s shortlist,’ says James Murphy, chief executive of the RPS about a list that also features violinist Alina Ibragimova, composers Rebecca Saunders and George Benjamin, and sopranos Carolyn Sampson and Nina Stemme. This is the 30th anniversary of the awards, though the Royal Philharmonic Society itself was founded in 1813 and has presented the Gold Medal since 1870.
See below for the full shortlist of nominees:
Chamber-Scale Composition

  • Clara Lannotta – dead wasps in the jam-jar (iii)
  • Julian Anderson – String Quartet No. 3
  • Tansy Davies – Cave

Concert Series and Events

  • The Cumnock Tryst
  • Freedom Season – Welsh National Opera
  • The Nature of Why – British Paraorchestra
  • Stockhausen: Cosmic Prophet – Southbank Centre


  • Francois Xavier-Roth
  • Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
  • Robert Ames


  • Aurora Orchestra
  • BSO Resound
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia


  • BSO Change Makers and Resound
  • Empowering Young Carers – Bath Philharmonia
  • Streetwise Opera


  • Alina Ibragimova – violin
  • Jean-Guihen Queyras – cello
  • Mahan Esfahani – harpsichord

Large-Scale Composition

  • Anna Meredith – Five Telegrams
  • George Benjamin – Lessons in Love and Violence
  • Per Nørgård – Symphony No. 3
  • Rebecca Saunders – Yes

Opera and Music Theatre

  • Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Birmingham Opera Company
  • Royal Opera
  • The Second Violinist – Irish National Opera and Landmark Productions


  • Carolyn Sampson – soprano
  • Elaine Mitchener – vocalist
  • Nina Stemme – soprano


  • Debussy: A Painter in Sound – Stephen Walsh
  • Janet Baker: In Her Own Words – John Bridcut/BBC4
  • Michael Tippett: The Biography – Oliver Soden

Young Artists

  • Castalian String Quartet
  • The Hermes Experient
  • Sheku Kanneh-Mason – cello

Words by Gareth Thomas