Singers Dominate Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in London

Classic Arts News   Singers Dominate Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in London
The Royal Philharmonic Society, the second-oldest music society in the world, unveiled the winners of its annual awards last night at a ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel.

Singers were in the limelight. The BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award went to Swedish soprano Miah Persson, acclaimed for her performances at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Wigmore Hall and the Proms. British soprano Kate Royal, who was recently signed to EMI, was awarded the Young Artist Award winner, beating Venezuelan conducting dynamo Gustavo Dudamel.

John Mark Ainsley won the Singer Award; he has been praised for recent performances as Monteverdi's Orfeo at English National Opera and in Britten's five Canticles at the Wigmore Hall. Clarinettist Michael Collins became the first wind player to take the Instrumentalist Award, cited for his interpretation of Elliott Carter's Clarinet Concerto.

Vladimir Jurowski received the Conductor Award. Bloomberg News quotes him as saying, "It's for my orchestras too. Without an orchestra, a conductor is merely a hot-air beater." His orchestras include the London Philharmonic (of which he is Principal Conductor Designate), the orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival (of which he is music director), the Russian National Orchestra (Principal Guest Conductor) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Principal Artist). He is rumored by some to be a potential candidate, eventually, for music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Opera North, based in Leeds, won in the opera and music theater category for its production of Peter Grimes, and the Britten Sinfonia won the ensemble award. Concert Series and Festival honors went to the Spitalfields Festival, once an early-summer series in an unfrequented part of east London which has now extended into winter programming and developed an enviable reputation.

The Education prize went to PLAY.orchestra, a seven-week interactive project, installed on the Southbank Centre's Riverside Terrace, made in collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra. The Guardian Creative Communication Award was won by Patrick Carnegy for his book Wagner and the Art of Theatre.

David Lloyd-Jones was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, a honor established in recognition of outstanding services to music (and first awarded in 1826 to Carl Maria von Weber).

During the ceremony, Graham Sheffield, chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society — an organization venerable enough that it commissioned Beethoven's Ninth Symphony) took the opportunity to denounce the current British government's "thoughtless damage" and "incoherent approach" to the arts, according to The Guardian.

He accused Tony Blair's government, which has used Ô£112.5 million from National Lottery funding intended for the arts to help subsidize the rising costs of the 2012 London Olympics, of "one minute praising the arts sector to the skies, the next, nicking hundreds of millions of pounds from the arts to balance the books on its inadequate budgeting for the Olympics."

According to Gramophone Online, the best acceptance speech was from Scotland's East Neuk Festival, which won the Audience Development Award for having proved that you can "program Finnish electronica, in a disused nuclear bunker, in the middle of nowhere, at midnight — and still get an audience."

The Royal Philharmonic Society Awards honor "creativity, excellence, and understanding"' in performances given in Great Britain during the previous calendar year.

Audience Development -
East Neuk Festival

BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award -
Miah Persson

Chamber Music -
Dante Quartet

Chamber-Scale Composition -
Richard Causton, for Phoenix

Concert Series and Festivals -
Spitalfields Festival

Conductor -
Vladimir Jurowski

Creative Communication -
Patrick Carnegy: Wagner and the Art of Theatre -
(Yale University Press)

Education -

Ensemble -
Britten Sinfonia

Instrumentalist -
Michael Collins

Large-Scale Composition -
Jonathan Harvey, for ... towards a pure land

Opera and Music Theatre -
Opera North, for Peter Grimes

Singer -
John Mark Ainsley

Young Artist -
Kate Royal

Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society -
David Lloyd-Jones

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