sound Festival shortlisted for prestigious RPS Music Award

19 Apr 2013 in Aberdeen City & Shire, Festival, General, Music

“sound’s 2012 edition opened up the world of music theatre to creators and audiences who feel inhibited by opera’s institutional conventions and gave us a whiff of the creative zeitgeist”

opera magazine

sound, Scotland’s ambitious festival of new music, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Award it was announced today, Thursday 11 April 2013. The RPS Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the UK. One of only three events shortlisted for the Concert Series and Festivals Award, sound’s nomination underscores the impact that the north east Scotland-based festival has made in the 8 years since it was founded by Professor Pete Stollery of Aberdeen University and Mark Hope of Woodend Barn, Banchory. The RPS Music Award nomination is for the 2012 sound Festival, a highlight of which was the Out of the Box opera weekend featuring new commissions from Pippa Murphy and Ben Harrison; John and Zinnie Harris; Gareth Williams and Johnny McKnight; Stephen Deazley and Matthew Sharp, among others, which were staged in unusual places and spaces such as a stables, a lighthouse, a flat, a pub and even on a bus.

“We are thrilled to have been short-listed for the RPS’ Concert Series and Festivals Award,” says festival director Fiona Robertson. “sound is fairly young new music festival and works in a slightly unusual fashion – with a network of local partners involved in programming events in the festival, and a very small staff team. We’re also geographically pretty far north, so it is terrifically exciting to be shortlisted for such a prestigious UK award.”

“The nomination recognises the hard work and commitment of many people (including the support of so many musicians and composers) which enabled us to create such a diverse festival, and also recognises the important place of new music in Scotland’s contemporary cultural landscape. Obviously none of this would have been possible without receiving regular public and private funding over the years from organisations such as Creative Scotland, the PRS for Music Foundation, Aberdeen City and Shire, the University of Aberdeen and a number of trusts and foundations (RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Astor of Hever Trust, Aberdeen Endowments Trust, David and June Gordon Memorial Trust, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Leche Trust…).”

The 2012 sound Festival ran from 19 October – 18 November with other highlights including a series of concerts featuring the talented young musicians of NYOS Futures who performed the World Premiere of three sound commissions: Paul Mealor’s Crucifixus with NYCOS and Jeremy Huw Williams, Stephen Montague’s Phrygian Ferment with harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka and Oliver Searle’s Close to Shore for contrabass flute with flautist Richard Craig. This were some of 17 World Premieres at the festival. Others included a sound commission from Robert Saxton, Little Suite for Organ; Geoff Palmer’s A Caedmon Symphony and David Matthew’s Romanza, performed by the acclaimed violinist, Madeleine Mitchell. Other performers included Red Note Ensemble, Rolf Hind, Tommy Smith’s Karma; Ruth Wall – the girl with 3 harps; Simon Thacker’s Svara Kanti and Claudia Molitor. The 2013 sound Festival will be staged in venues across North East Scotland in October and November.

sound is the North East of Scotland’s festival of new music. It is an initiative of Woodend Barn and the University of Aberdeen which operates as a network of local and some national organisations. Following a pilot event, “Upbeat” in 2004, the first festival was launched in November 2005. sound is now an annual event, which aims to make new music more accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds by presenting an eclectic but very broad range of contemporary music – classical, traditional, popular, jazz, experimental – through a wide array of events including concerts, talks, electroacoustic installations, and workshops. As well as programming its own events, sound operates as an umbrella for a range of concerts, workshops, masterclasses and performances programmed by other organisations in the North East. Dame Evelyn Glennie, James MacMillan and Rohan de Saram are current Patrons of the Festival.

The Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards are the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom. These independent awards were set up in 1989 to celebrate the outstanding musical achievements of both young and established, British and International, musicians. In 2003, BBC Radio 3 became our media partners, devoting a full- length programme to the RPS Music Awards. The RPS Music Awards are governed by the Society’s guiding principles of Excellence, Creativity and Understanding. Nominations are invited annually from leading members of the profession and organisations throughout the country. Each Award is decided by an eminent, independent jury.

The 13 categories of award honour performers and composers as well as inspirational programmers, communicators, education and outreach work. There is no restriction on the nationality of recipients, but the awards are for achievements within the United Kingdom. The Concert Series and Festivals Award, for which sound has been shortlisted, was donated by Lalita Carlton- Jones.

For further information on sound visit

The Winners of the RPS Music Awards will be announced on 14 May 2013. For further information about the RPS Music Awards, including full lists of previous winners, visit