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, Sofia Gubaidulina, 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 is now welcoming nominations for the RPS Gold Medal from RPS Members and colleagues across the music profession. 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


Claire-Louise Auguste, flautist at Trinity Laban: enjoying playing her new flute purchased with assistance from the RPS Sir John Barbirolli memorial Fund.


In 2002 the Society sold its historic archive of papers, letters and musical manuscripts to the British Library, where it is now open to the public from all over the world.