RPS announces prizes and grants for composers and musicians totaling £42,000

11 Jul 2018

The RPS’s burgeoning RPS Young Musicians and New Music Programmes has announced awards and prizes for composers and student musicians totaling over £40,000.

The programme offers a range of support to outstanding instrumentalists, ensembles and composers, from students to nascent professionals. This year’s support includes seven commissions for composers, and a series of non-repayable grants to help music students in financial need purchase the quality instruments that can make a profound difference to their musical development:

  • £20,000 goes to young composers in the 70th year of the RPS Composition Prize
  • £22,500 towards the purchase of instruments by students from eight music conservatoires nationwide.


In the year that the RPS Composition Prize for young composers turns 70, the Society is making a series of awards to the tune of £20,000. Seven composers, all aged under 28, have been commissioned to write new works for leading ensembles and festivals across the UK:

  • 28-year old Taiwanese composer Chia-Ying Lin, who studied at the University of Manchester, Royal College of Music graduate, 28-year old Benjamin Ashby and this year’s youngest recipient, 23-year-old Alex Woolf, a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, will all write for the Philharmonia Orchestra as part of the orchestra’s Music of Today series.
  • 28-year-old former Bristol University student, Carmen Ho, will write for Sheffield’s Music in the Round
  • 27-year-old Liam Mattison’s commission will be heard at the Presteigne Festival 2019
  • 23-year old Royal Northern College of Music student, Grace-Evangeline Mason will write a chamber work for 2019 Cheltenham Music Festival
  • There is also a chamber commission (details to be announced) for Cambridge University graduate, 27-year-old Daniel Fardon.

Find out more about the composers here.

The RPS Composition Prize provides support, and a rare commission to composers at a formative stage in their development. 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the awarding of the first RPS Composition Prize.

Early recipients included Alan Ridout, Edwin Roxburgh and John McCabe. Paul Hughes – now CEO of the BBC Symphony Orchestra - Julian Anderson and Luke Bedford all received RPS Composition Prizes. Recent awards have gone to some of the brightest of a vibrant generation of composing talent including Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Mark Simpson, Daniel Kidane (whose newest commission recently featured in the re-opening concert of the Queen Elizabeth Hall), Charlotte Bray, who has written for many of the UK’s leading ensembles, Patrick Brennan and Donghoon Shin (all three were subsequently appointed Sound and Music Apprentice-Composers-in-Residence at Birmingham Contemporary Music Group), 2017 BASCA Award-winner Shiva Fesheraki, Dani Howard, whose RPS/ClassicFM commission Argentum was performed at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year, and Tom Coult, who was commissioned by the BBC for the First Night of the Proms 2017.


The RPS has awarded £22,500 to 16 music students in financial need in order to help them purchase the instruments essential to their professional studies. In a welcome change from the model of student loans, the Society provides one-off non-repayable awards. Payback comes purely in the form of the startling musical progress that can be made on an appropriate, quality instrument. Over the years, hundreds of music students have benefited from the Society’s support for instrument purchase.

This year’s awards are going to students from eight conservatoires nationwide and will go towards the purchase of a harp, guitar, several brass instruments, including French Horn, Alto Saxophone and Tuba, string and wind instruments, and a cymbal set.

Click to see the full list of recipients.

The Royal Philharmonic Society continues to seek funds to continue granting such awards to young musicians in need. Click the button below to donate or find out more:


Anthony Payne, composer: commissions include three orchestral works for the BBC Proms, and the internationally acclaimed completion of Elgar's Third Symphony.


The cost of a bassoon for a young player starting their professional training is about £15,000. The RPS John Barbirolli Fund offers much needed financial assistance with instrument purchase.