Gamechanger Award

Supported by Schott Music

In 1813, the Society was founded by a group of musicians who set out to establish a lasting performance culture and repertory, playing a central role in making the UK an essential destination for classical music. This new award – first presented to Chineke! in 2019 and to pioneering conductor Jane Glover in 2020 – celebrates those who in unique and contemporary ways continue to break new ground in 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. This year we proudly present it to:

Bold Tendencies

Here is the full citation read by RPS Chairman John Gilhooly before presenting the trophy to Bold Tendencies founder Hannah Barry:

'We are gathered here this evening because we collectively believe in the rightful place of music, enriching lives, at the heart of society. The stories we have already heard tonight are potent evidence of it doing precisely that. Yet we – the custodians of classical music – can often be too modest or reserved about its properties, not entirely trusting ourselves to let it take wing where we may not expect it to fly.

With this year’s Gamechanger Award we honour an initiative that has no such inhibitions. Its name, when I say it, will be unfamiliar to some of you. To others it’s an instant watchword for believing in the limitless potential of the art in our hands and giving it every chance to flourish in the unlikeliest places.

Bold Tendencies was the singular vision of one woman. Back in 2007, the art historian and gallerist HANNAH BARRY seized the opportunity to take over a disused multi-storey car park in Peckham. Her conviction was that filling this dead space with art would not only bring it back to life, the art would be a magnet to the community and bring them together.

Anyone who has visited Bold Tendencies in the years since will know how brilliantly it has achieved this. It has roused such pride and involvement from local residents. Its openness, visibility, and vibrantly-curated activities have been the impetus for further regeneration, leading businesses, hospitality and other non-profits to rehabilitate other neglected properties all around it.

Classical music has been central to this transformation, drawing those who wouldn’t experience it anywhere else, from the resident RPS Award-winning Multi-Story Orchestra to the impressive recitals instigated this year with the likes of Alina Ibragimova, Pavel Kolesnikov, and the Kanneh-Masons.

In this, Hannah and her team have presented us all with a blueprint we might take to communities nationwide – and blazing proof of how classical music can thrive when we let it out to play.'

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