RPS wins for Academy family

-Posted on 10.05.2017

Winners of the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards were announced at a ceremony yesterday, with three Academy alumni and one Visiting Professor given the prestigious prize


Richard Farnes (1987 to 1990, FRAM) won in the category of Conductor, with the citation: ‘The panel were unanimous in declaring Richard Farnes the clear winner of this year’s Conductor’s Award. His twelve years as Music Director of Opera North provide an inspiring example of tireless and self-effacing musical leadership, of which the universally-praised Ring Cycle, given six times in venues across the UK, formed the magnificent climax and demonstrated that he is one of finest Wagnerian interpreters of our time.’

Philip Venables (2002 to 2005, ARAM) won for Large-scale Composition, with his opera 4.48 Psychosis, with the citation: ‘The winning work is arrestingly relevant, uncomfortable yet gripping. The vocal lines are unique and brilliantly written, sitting alongside spoken word, recorded elements, and instrumental lines which take over where words fail, translating deep internal psychological states into sound. This opera speaks with uncompromising directness to its audience, bringing out the irony as well as the anguish of Sarah Kane’s play.’

Joseph Middleton (2003 to 2005, ARAM, Vocal Coach) won the Young Artist category, with the citation: ‘In a shortlist notable for creativity, artistic excellence and impact, the winner in this category has been hailed as a born collaborator, equally at home in partnerships with leading international artists and also supporting young performers whose careers he nurtures. Demonstrating dedication to the field of chamber music and song, his commitment is exemplified as Director of Leeds Lieder, a festival of imaginative programming, wide-ranging activity and community engagement. The winner of the Young Artists category is the pianist Joseph Middleton.’

James Ehnes, HonRAM and new Visiting Professor of Violin, was awarded the Instrumentalist prize, with the citation: ‘Blessed with a generosity of spirit and an innate musicality, James Ehnes, even by his own standards, had a wonderfully productive 40th birthday year. Whether as Artist in Residence at the Liverpool Philharmonic; acclaimed country-wide concerto, recital and quartet performances or participation in the ‘In Harmony’ programme, he delivered an extraordinary breadth of communication through his eloquent music making.’ 


Several other Academy alumni and professors were nominated for the awards:

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Hon RAM, Visiting Professor of Music) – Instrumentalist

James Baillieu (2006 to 2008, DipRAM, ARAM, Professor of Piano Accompaniment) – Chamber Music and Song

Chineke! Orchestra, founded by Chi-Chi Nwanoku MBE (1977 to 1981, FRAM and Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies) – Audiences and Engagement

Allan Clayton (2005 to 2007, ARAM) – Singer

Southbank Sinfonia, whose Music Director is Simon Over (1987 to 1989) and which includes many Academy players) – Ensemble

15-Second Harp (devised by Olivia Jaguers, 2011 to 2013) – Creative Communication

See the full list of winners here.


Photo of James Middleton: Sussie Ahlburg

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