Inspiration Award

supported by Decca Classics

We are pleased to present a new RPS Award voted for by the public for the very first time.

For years, the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards have celebrated the finest classical music-making across the UK. Last year, we introduced the Inspiration Award for those who brightly inspired the nation in the first months of lockdown. It commended professional and non-professional musicians alike.

In 2021 – and from now on – we present this award outright to a non-professional ensemble or to an individual who works with such groups, in recognition of the remarkable constellation of such music-makers, often overlooked in awards such as these.

Unlike the other RPS Awards whose winners are chosen by expert independent panels, for the very first time the winner of this RPS Award has fittingly been chosen by the public. A shortlist of six exceptional entities was assembled by a panel who themselves work tirelessly year-round with non-professional groups and, from these, we invited the public to vote for whom they feel should receive this year’s award. Voting was open throughout September 2021, ahead of the RPS Awards at Wigmore Hall on Monday 1 November.

The six shortlisted nominees are as follows. Click each for a flavour of what makes them particularly special and what they have achieved in the last year:

This year's winner, by public vote, was announced as Hilary Campbell and Bristol Choral Society. Many congratulations to them, but moreover to all the groups shortlisted who each roused an impressive number of votes from the public. They are all worth following and each one is a huge credit to its community.

RPS Chief Executive James Murphy says ‘We are delighted to be taking this step to celebrate the astounding, vibrant range of non-professional music-making in the UK. The six shortlistees are representative of literally thousands of groups nationally who have inventively, resourcefully, resiliently found ways to keep making music together through the pandemic, not only keeping their own spirits bright but cheering their localities too. They are a powerful, timely reminder of what makes our nation so musical, and the sheer creativity occurring on our doorsteps.’

The RPS is thankful to Decca Classics for supporting the Award, and also to Making Music – the UK’s principal organisation supporting leisure-time music-making – for their help and insights in planning it.