RPS commissions win British Composer Awards

03 Dec 2014

Congratulations to Mark-Anthony Turnage and Sir Harrison Birtwistle.

Two of the RPS's bicentenary commissions - Frieze by Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Songs of the Same Earth by Sir Harrison Birtwistle - have won British Composer Awards. The ceremony took place on Tuesday 2 December 2014, 'celebrating the art of contemporary music composition'. Many congratulations to them both! Click here to see the full list of winners.

Mark-Anthony Turnage, Frieze(winner, Orchestral category)
A joint commission from the RPS, BBC Radio 3 and the New York Philharmonic in celebration of the bicentenary, Frieze received its premiere at the 2013 BBC Proms and was performed by the National Youth Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. The title, Frieze, refers to the Beethoven Frieze by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and was a 60th birthday present to Turnage’s teacher Oliver Knussen.

Harrison Birtwistle, Songs from the Same Earth (winner, Vocal category)
One of six new works co-commissioned by the RPS and the Britten-Pears Foundation in 2013 to jointly mark the RPS’s Bicentenary and the Centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. Songs of the Same Earth, written for tenor and piano, is a cycle of ten poems by David Harsent, a poet whose texts particularly resonate with Birtwistle. It was premiered at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival and performed by tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Andrew West.

Commissioning new music has been at the heart of the Royal Philharmonic Society's work since 1813. Find out more here.

3 December 2014


Armand Diangienda, RPS Honorary Member and former pilot who founded a symphony orchestra in one of the poorest cities on earth; Kinshasa, DR of the Congo.


In October 1970, Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto received its world premiere, having been commissioned by the RPS. The soloist was Rostropovich, who received our highest honour, the Gold Medal, the same year.