The Royal Philharmonic Society Awards return this year with the very first public-voted award.


The public has been asked to choose the winner of the RPS's Inspiration Award, which was first introduced last year for ensembles and artists who had innovated with music during lockdown. From hereon in, the focus will be on non-professional ensembles or individuals who work with such groups, in a celebration of ensembles who are often overlooked.

Last year, the public was asked to nominate candidates, but the final decision was left to RPS's independent judging panel. It's all change this year, with the six shortlisted nominees decided by the panel, and the decision in the hands of the public. The award will be voted for by the public in this way from now on.

The six shortlisted nominees for the 2021 RPS Inspiration Award are:

Aberdeen Saxophone Orchestra and Pheonix Saxophone Orchestra

Aberdeen Saxophone Orchestra

Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkshire

Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra - APO strings after the Reading Together Memorial Service in Forbury Gardens

Hilary Campbell and Bristol Choral Society

Hilary Campbell and Bristol Choral Society

Orkney Winter Choir and Orkney Camerata

Orkney Winter Choir and Orkney Camerata - Rehearsing in St Magnus Cathedral, Dec 2019

South Wales Gay Men's Chorus

South Wales Gay Men's Chorus - Last rehearsal before lockdown 2020 (c) Craig Stephenson

Themba Mvula and Lichfield Gospel Choir

Themba Mvula and Lichfield Gospel Choir

The rest of the RPS Awards will be chosen by expert panels as usual.

As part of today's announcement, the RPS has announced that it will host future ceremonies outside London from 2023. This year's ceremony will take place at Wigmore Hall, however.

Voting for the RPS Inspiration Award will be open until 11am on Thursday 30 September. Cast your votes here.


The RPS Awards ceremony will take place on Monday 1 November. General booking to attend the Awards will open on Friday 10 September. The ceremony will be filmed and streamed on the RPS website at a later date, with coverage also broadcast on BBC Radio 3.


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.