The shortlists have beeb announced for the RPS Awards – an annual celebration of the UK's classical music landscape. Honouring both professional and amateur musicians, the RPS Awards shortlists aim to 'reflect the far-reaching and resounding impact that classical music has nationally'.


This year's RPS Awards will be presented at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 March, and tickets start at £10. The evening will feature a special guest performance from cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Some of this year's RPS-shortlisted initiatives highlight the social and emotional benefits of music. These include Manchester Camerata’s powerful film Untold: Keith, the story of someone living with dementia who finds comfort and company through music. We reported on Manchester Camerata's invaluable work in this field a few months ago.

RPS Awards - Manchester Camerata
RPS Awards nominees include Manchester Camerata, who have made a powerful film about a dementia sufferer who finds comfort and company through music

Other nominees include the digital venture Opera-tic, who creatively empower those living with Tourette’s Syndrome, and Joe Cutler, whose Concerto Grosso was written to allow disabled musicians to perform centre-stage with Gateshead’s Royal Northern Sinfonia.

There's a good spread of outstanding music-making from around the country: nominees come from Yorkshire (Sheffield’s Ensemble 360, Leeds Piano Trail, Ryedale Festival, and Bradford Festival Choral Society), the North West (Manchester Collective and Manchester Camerata), Scotland (Aberdeenshire’s Sound Festival and Scottish Opera), Wales (Côr CF1 and Tredegar Town Band) and elsewhere.

RPS Awards - Tredegar Town Band
Tredegar Town Band, nominees in the Inspiration Award category at the 2023 RPS Awards

Artists nominated this year include the cellist Abel Selaocoe, violinist Elena Urioste, soprano Lise Davidsen, and composer Thomas Adès. The English National Opera receives two nominations – for their music director Martyn Brabbins, and for their acclaimed production of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Amateur music-making in the UK is also celebrated through the Inspiration Award, the winner of which is decided via a public vote. Shortlisted organisations, people and ensembles include Bradford Festival Choral Society, Côr CF1, Torbay Symphony Orchestra, Tredegar Town Band, and community music director Ula Weber. You can vote for the RPS Inspiration Awards online by 10am on Wednesday 1 February.

Also of note is the fact that 27% of the individual performers and composers nominated are people of colour. Alongside these nominations, the transnational ensemble Tangram, which celebrates Chinese cultures, has been nominated for the Young Artist Award.

RPS Awards - Tangram
The transnational ensemble Tangram celebrates Chinese cultures - and has been nominated for the Young Artist Award

Hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Hannah French and Petroc Trelawny, the Awards ceremony will be available to watch on the RPS website at a later date. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 3 will present a special broadcast featuring music of the winners and nominees at 7pm on Monday 6 March. BBC Radio 3 and BBC Music Magazine are among the Principal Supporters for this year's Awards.

'With much recent reportage about funding cuts to the arts, what a story we have to share about classical musicians’ creativity, generosity and resilience,' says RPS Chief Executive James Murphy. 'The RPS Awards shortlists represent thousands of musicians who devote their lives to uplifting, inspiring and uniting communities nationwide. We’re newly presenting the RPS Awards at the same time of year as the BAFTAs and BRITs, as classical musicians deserve as much recognition as pop acts and movie stars. Tickets have never been cheaper, from only £10, so we warmly invite music-lovers to come and be part of the festivities and help us make some noise.'

In other awards news, the BBC Music Magazine Awards are now inviting nominations: you can vote for the best recordings of 2022 across nine categories, from Chamber to Opera, via our website.


Top pic: Bradford Festival Choral Society, nominated in the Inspiration Award category


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.