RPS Gold Medal

The Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal is the Society’s highest honour and is awarded for the most outstanding musicianship and is presented to the finest musicians of any nationality.

It was initiated in 1870, the Centenary of Beethoven’s birth, to celebrate the close relationship between the Society and the composer. The medal bears the image of Beethoven depicted by Schaller in the iconic RPS bust, and has become one of the most privileged honours in the world of music.

Among the names on the list of honour are Johannes Brahms (1877), Fritz Kreisler (1904), Frederick Delius and Edward Elgar (1925), Richard Strauss (1936), John Barbirolli (1950), Kathleen Ferrier (1953), Igor Stravinsky (1954), Benjamin Britten (1964) Vladimir Horowitz (1974) Witold Lutoslawski (1986) and Leonard Bernstein (1987).

Recent Gold Medal recipients include Martha Argerich, Dame Janet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel, Placido Domingo, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, György Kurtág, Jessye Norman, Sir Antonio Pappano, Thomas Quasthoff, Sir Simon Rattle, András Schiff, Sir John Tomlinson and Dame Mitsuko Uchida.

The Royal Philharmonic Society annually welcomes nominations for the Gold Medal from RPS Members and colleagues across the music profession. Nominations will re-open in Autumn 2019. At that stage, those eligible to nominate can email us with details of your nominee and a citation of 300 – 500 words outlining why you believe they are deserving of such an accolade. If you would like to find out how to nominate, please email Robin Sheffield.

From those nominated, a shortlist is created on which the distinguished members of the RPS Board of Trustees and Council will vote. Wherever possible the Gold Medal is presented publicly on the concert platform.

Related Pages


Emily Hoile, harpist: studied at the Juilliard School in New York thanks to funding from the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship.


The Philharmonic Society was founded by professional musicians in 1813 to perform publicly ‘in the most perfect manner possible, the best and most approved music'.