What's the point of Awards?

01 Jan 2018

RPS Director, Rosie Johnson, has some answers!

Is there any point to awards ceremonies? Do they provide anything more than an ego boost and a good night out for a lucky few? 

These are perennial, and valid questions regularly aired on social media during awards season. Where the frocks and the froth come first, the points are perhaps well made. But, what of awards ceremonies based on serious intent?

For the past 18 years, I’ve been in charge of producing the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, the UK’s most prestigious awards for live classical music, and in an era of click-bait media and the perception of a shrinking relevance for classical music, the awards have never been more important.

The RPS Music Awards have two functions – firstly, they are there to celebrate classical music. This may sound simple – perhaps unnecessary at first glance – but as a rule, serious musicians are simply more interested in the ‘doing’ than stopping to give themselves a standing ovation: it’s the music that matters most - and great musicianship takes time and focus. Yet there’s so much to applaud, and we are pleased to be classical music’s cheerleader in chief if it helps the music we love so much find an ever-wider audience. The awards give a clear message about the abundance of both distinguished and young talent, the sheer excellence, dedication and commitment of musicians and composers, and incredible performances of live music that take place up and down the UK everyday.

Read the full blog in The Gramophone


Brian McMaster, advocate for the arts, former director, Edinburgh International Festival: presented with RPS Honorary Membership in 2009.


Queen Victoria attended a Philharmonic Society concert conducted by Mendelssohn in 1844.