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Gamechangers: Chineke!

Lucy Thraves


RPS Awards 2019: Winners announced

9:19, 29th November 2019

Last night (28 November), the winners of the 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards were announced at a ceremony held at Battersea Arts Centre, London.

The winners are as follows:

Chamber-scale composition

Tansy Davies, Cave

Concerts series and events

The Cumnock Tryst


Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


Aurora Orchestra


BSO Change Makers and Resound


Alina Ibragimova, violin

Large-scale composition

Rebecca Saunders, Yes

Opera and music theatre

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Birmingham Opera Company


Nina Stemme


Michael Tippett: The Biography, by Oliver Soden

Young Artists

Castalian String Quartet



RPS Gold Medal

Sofia Gubaidulina


Chineke!, Britain’s first majority Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra, became the first ever recipient of the Gamechanger Award, presented for inspirational and transformative work in classical music. Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, founder and artist director, said: ‘It is a great honour for Chineke! to receive the first RPS Gamechanger Award … it is a huge accolade and we will proud champions of everything that the RPS stands for as we continue with our mission of championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music.’

Listen to CM’s podcast with Chi-chi Nwanoku here.

The coveted RPS Gold Medal was awarded to Sofia Gubaidulina, who had travelled to London to accept her award. Born in 1931, Gubaidulina is renowned as one of the great composers of the last century. She said: ‘This award is especially precious because it comes as we are preparing to celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven. To that great composer belongs the merit of affirming in his work the love of harmony – which is the true meaning of the word philharmonic. Let us hope that this may be a unique moment in the history of music – when growth for all mankind can really be achieved through works of art.’

RPS chairman John Gilhooly OBE, said: ‘All too easily, opinion formers and policy makers can overlook music’s unique strengths, compromising its place in the news, on the national curriculum, and among funding priorities. The winners of this year’s RPS Awards make a blazing case for classical music empowering people in unique and exciting ways across the UK. Collectively the winners and nominees represent an exhilarating picture of a nation alive with music, and we’re proud – with BBC Radio 3 – to celebrate them.’

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast highlights from the event on 1 December at 8:45pm.

View the full list of nominees here.


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