Scottish Ensemble Scoops RPS Award
The Scottish Ensemble has triumphed in the ensemble category of this year’s prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. The full list of prizes, which also included success for the Virtual Benedetti Sessions, was announced in a virtual awards ceremony presented by BBC Radio 3’s Georgia Mann on the RPS website on Wednesday evening.
The highly-contested Ensemble Award was conferred on the Scottish Ensemble “for sheer quality and innovation in their 50th birthday year [2019-20], and for showing us all how an ensemble can serve its community yet still have a striking international impact”. The Ensemble beat off stiff competition from fellow category nominees, the City of London Sinfonia and Manchester Collective.
The announcement also coincided with the launch of the SE’s new digitally focused autumn/winter season, which opened last week with Songs of Life, featuring mezzo soprano Karen Cargill (see Keith Bruce’s review on VoxCarnyx).
Responding to the RPS announcement, SE artistic director Jonathan Morton acknowledged the challenges facing the classical music world during a year that has sharpened ingenuity in the fight for survival. “Like many in our field, we have tried to stay connected with our audiences by creating new work and sharing it digitally, and we have enjoyed establishing new relationships with some exciting collaborators along the way,” he said.
“I very much hope that these experiments will be able to sustain performers and audiences alike, keeping our common musical spirits alive until the time when we can once again look forward to live performances.”
The Ensemble was also delighted to announce it has been awarded financial support from the RPS Audience Fund. “This will enable us to further develop our work finding a new filmic language for classical music and could not have come at a better time,” said SE chief executive Jenny Jamison.
Also among the recipients with a Scottish connection were the Benedetti Foundation’s Virtual Benedetti Sessions, one of several winners in the new Inspiration category, and soprano Natalya Romaniw in the Singer category for, among other achievements, her title role as Tosca for Scottish Opera.
Tenor Nicky Spence, guitarist Sean Shibe, Scottish Opera’s Nixon in China production and Scots-based composer Errollyn Warren were also among shortlisted nominees. The RPS’ Gold Medal, recognising outstanding musicianship, went to legendary Hollywood composer John Williams.
View the complete awards ceremony on www.royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/awards
BBC Radio 3 presents a musical celebration of the winners on 23 Nov, 7.30pm