Music Transforms Lives

In 2013, the RPS marked its bicentenary year by awarding Honorary Membership to five extraordinary music makers on four continents.

The five recipients have all put music at the heart of some of the most challenged communities in the world, supported young musicians and made a profound difference to diversity in music making.

The presentations of Honorary Membership were made at the RPS Music Awards Dinner on 14 May 2013

The recipients are:

  • Armand Diangienda, a former airline pilot who founded a symphony orchestra in one of the poorest cities on earth, Kinshasa, DR of the Congo
  • Dr Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of Afghanistan’s first national music school in Kabul
  • Rosemary Nalden, British viola player and founder of Buskaid, who persuaded distinguished musicians to busk at British railway stations to raise funds for a string project in South Africa, and now directs the thriving stringed instrument school in Diepkloof, Soweto.
  • Ricardo Castro, International pianist (and former winner of the Leeds Piano Competition) who established a flourishing youth music programme in Bahià, Brazil.
  • Aaron P. Dworkin, the founder of the Sphinx Organization, which gives opportunities and assistance to aspiring Black and Latino musicians in the USA. Sphinx’s mission is for classical music to embrace the diversity inherent in the society that it strives to serve.

John Gilhooly, Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society commented:

“In its Bicentenary year, the Royal Philharmonic Society is looking outwards and has chosen to honour these musicians, who understand the fundamental importance of culture in society and its potential to change lives. Each has shown tenacity and vision, and each is driven by a “love of their art” which is very much in keeping with the founding principles of the RPS. In the UK, the arts are often regarded as an unnecessary luxury. These awards are a salutary reminder of why culture matters.”

Pictured left to right: Desmond Neysmith (on behalf of Aaron P. Dworkin), Ricardo Castro, Ahmad Sarmast, Rosemary Nalden and Armand Dinagienda. (Image credit: Simon Jay Price)

These RPS Honorary Memberships were given in association with the British Council and in partnership with The Guardian.

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