The RPS Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in a range of categories. Each year we review and update the criteria, so please read carefully what follows, to ensure what you may wish to nominate is eligible, and the best category for it.
There is no restriction on the nationality of recipients, but the Awards are for achievements within the United Kingdom. The Awards celebrate achievements in the most recent concert season which traditionally runs from September to August, so the upcoming RPS Awards are for accomplishments between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2023. Optimally, activity nominated should have occurred fully in this period, though we will consider activity that may have started before, or set to conclude after – so long as the majority occurred during this period. Please ensure what you are nominating meets these terms.
You should only nominate an individual or entity in one category, for example ‘Young Artist’ or ‘Instrumentalist’, not both. The RPS reserves the right to move a nomination when we believe it belongs in a different category, or remove it altogether if it does not fit the criteria detailed on this page.
While you are welcome to nominate your own work or something in which you have been involved, we strictly discourage organisations using this as a means of putting forward excessive entries for themselves, which could draw focus from the outstanding quality of one or two. Please also note, the number of nominations an entity gets has no bearing on its prospects, so you do not need to corral friends and colleagues to nominate it too. Just one nomination, so long as it is eligible, is sufficient to ensure the entity will be considered.
If you are unsure whether something is eligible or which category it fits, you are welcome to contact us at email@example.com.
As a registered charity, the Royal Philharmonic Society exists to recognise excellence in music and musicians, promote an understanding of music, and encourage creativity and authenticity in music. We strive for everything we do to reflect the range of people who make classical music today in a diverse, multicultural society.
We want the Awards to represent the remarkable quality, vitality, range and impact of classical music in all its forms across the UK. Across all categories, we look for vibrant evidence of classical music making a difference to people’s lives, and are always keen to see endeavours that engage wider audiences with music. The work of each nominee should, in its own way, make a case for why classical music matters today. When nominating, you are asked to express how your nominee embodies these values.
Categories and Criteria
RPS Members and those who work in the classical music profession may nominate this year in the following categories:
Chamber-Scale Composition - for an outstandingly imaginative and engaging chamber-scale work receiving its premiere UK performance to a live or digital audience. For the purpose of these Awards, we traditionally define chamber-scale as being scored for up to 15 performers. Owing to many nominations in this category, we will approach composers nominated for multiple works to ask which piece they feel best represents them this year.
Conductor - for the outstanding quality and scope of the performances to a live or digital audience, and the work in any context, of a conductor in the UK.
Ensemble - for the outstanding quality and scope of the performances to a live or digital audience, and the work in any context of a group of musicians, no fewer than three, in the UK. Please note, we warmly welcome nominations for vocal as well as instrumental ensembles.
Impact - for an outstanding initiative, individual or organisation that practically engaged and set out to have a lasting impact on the lives of people who may not otherwise experience classical music, demonstrating the positive, empowering role it can play in society.
Instrumentalist - for the outstanding quality and scope of the performances to a live or digital audience, and the work in any context, of an individual performer on any instrument in the UK.
Large-Scale Composition - for an outstandingly imaginative and engaging large-scale work receiving its premiere UK performance to a live or digital audience. For the purpose of these Awards, we traditionally define large-scale as being scored for 16 performers or more. Owing to many nominations in this category, we will approach composers nominated for multiple works to ask which piece they feel best represents them this year.
Opera and Music Theatre - for an outstanding production or initiative, presented to a live or digital audience, or for the overall accomplishments of a company or individual in opera and music theatre in the UK. Please note, if you wish to nominate a new opera as a composition, you should do so in one of the two composition categories.
Series and Events - for a distinctive festival, themed series of performances, or truly unique performance event, presented in the UK. Where such achievements principally comprise opera, they should be nominated in the Opera and Music Theatre category.
Singer - for the outstanding quality and scope of the performances to a live or digital audience, and the work in any context, of an individual singer in the UK.
Storytelling - for an imaginative entity which, in a lateral medium, newly or distinctly furthered the understanding of classical music in the UK. Most likely but not limited to written or spoken word, radio, television, film, digital, online. Please note, this category excludes digital/streamed performances and recordings.
Young Artist - for the outstanding quality and scope of the performances to a live or digital audience, and the work in any context of an individual artist or chamber ensemble, relatively new to the profession, who has made a strong impression in the UK.
We will also present two special awards:
Recently introduced, the Inspiration Award is for a non-professional ensemble or an individual who works with such groups, in recognition of the remarkable constellation of such music-makers. For it, we assemble a specialist panel who will create a shortlist of outstanding candidates across the UK whose endeavours in the last year deserve recognition. In December, we will account their achievements on the RPS website and open a public vote for the eventual winner, to be revealed at the RPS Awards in March. Follow @RoyalPhilSoc on social media for further updates.
This award – first presented to Chineke! in 2019 – celebrates those who in unique and contemporary ways continue to break new ground in classical music. In this, we salute the gamechanging musicians who founded the Society in 1813, who established much of the performance culture we know today, and helped make the UK an essential destination for classical music. It is specially presented by the Board and Council of the RPS to an initiative, individual, group or organisation for their inspirational and transformative work. In choosing the recipient of this award, the Board and Council will consider nominations made in all other categories as well as consulting colleagues across the music profession.