The Sixteen wins RPS Music Award


© Simon Jay Price

Press release: The Sixteen wins the Ensemble category at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2018

On Wednesday 9 May, The Sixteen was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Award in the Ensemble category, for its outstanding work in 2017. Given to a group of musicians, no smaller than three, who performed together last year, the choir, under founder and conductor Harry Christophers CBE, is hallmarked by its tonal richness, expressive intensity and compelling collective artistry. Christophers collected the award at the RPS Music Awards ceremony held at The Brewery, London. The RPS Music Awards are presented in association with BBC Radio 3.

‘It is such an honour for The Sixteen to receive the RPS Ensemble Award, and is such perfect timing on the eve of our 40th anniversary which we celebrate in 2019. Last year was full of highlights from world premiere performances and nine new album releases to a packed touring programme including debut concerts in China, Estonia and Lithuania, and the arrival of the next group of Genesis Sixteen young artists. The Choral Pilgrimage, which tours the length and breadth of the UK, is central to our season and such a revelatory experience but if I had to single out one thing it would be the performances and recording of James MacMillan’s masterly Stabat mater. The work was commissioned for The Sixteen by the Genesis Foundation and it is without doubt a highlight of The Sixteen’s work and one of which I am extremely proud.’

Highlights in 2017Highlights in 2017

• The Sixteen’s annual Choral Pilgrimage featured the repertoire of Palestrina and Poulenc and explored the themes of conflict and atonement. It toured to 31 locations around the UK reaching around 20,000 people and many more through broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The tour’s mission is to bring music back to the venues for which it was written – glorious music in glorious buildings – and specifically to champion lesser known repertoire to the widest possible audience. The majority of the concerts have free pre-concert talks and several are accompanied by oversubscribed choral workshops which give a deeper insight into the repertoire.

• In February 2017 the choir and orchestra of The Sixteen toured Bach’s Magnificat to eight venues across the UK with sopranos Katy Hill, Alexandra Kidgell and Charlotte Mobbs, alto Daniel Collins, tenors Jeremy Budd and Mark Dobell and bass Eamonn Dougan.

• The Sixteen’s residency at the Wigmore Hall continued with three performances: Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, a concert celebrating the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth, and the first in a series of Purcell’s Welcome Songs.

• As Artistic Associate at Kings Place, The Sixteen gave two performances in 2017 as part of Baroque Unwrapped.

• At the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, The Sixteen’s residency included The Fairy Queen for Families and James MacMillan’s Stabat mater.

• Nine performances around the UK of The Sixteen’s a cappella Christmas programme which included the world premiere performances of Marco Galvani’s On Christmas Morn, co-commissioned by the RPS and Classic FM, as part of the radio station’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

• Debut performances in mainland China, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as a return to Hong Kong, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Malta.

• Nine album releases on The Sixteen’s record label CORO including the premiere recording of Sir James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, a Genesis Foundation commission, which won the coveted Diapason d’Or de l’Année for Choral Music.

• 22 young singers became the new Genesis Sixteen cohort 2017-18, a fully funded young artist’s scheme for 18-23 year olds, to nurture the next generation of talented ensemble singers. It also saw the appointment of Benedict Preece as the Genesis Sixteen Conducting Scholar for 2017-18: both programmes are supported by the Genesis Foundation.

The RPS Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the most prestigious recognition for live classical music in the UK, and this year celebrate outstanding achievement in 2017. Winners in thirteen categories are chosen by independent juries from across the music profession and the list of past winners readers as a who’s who of classical music. The RPS Music Awards were held at The Brewery in the City of London. The awards were hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Georgia Mann and Petroc Trelawny, with the silver lyre trophies presented to winners by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music.