The UK-based Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) will this year offer a brand-new prize in the form of the Inspiration Award. This accolade was originally launched in 2020, to celebrate the achievements of musicians working under lockdown conditions.
In 2021, however, it is being repurposed as an award for amateur musicians. The RPS is eager to highlight the skills of exceptional but non-professional musicians, who they say are "often overlooked."
Six finalists have been selected by a panel of musicians who work with non-professional groups. The winners will then be chosen solely by public vote, to take place online.
The shortlisted finalists are as follows:
Aberdeen Saxophone Orchestra and Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkshire
Hilary Campbell and the Bristol Choral Society
Orkney Winter Choir and the Orkney Camerata
South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus
Themba Mvula and the Lichfield Gospel Choir
"We are delighted to be taking this step to celebrate the astounding, vibrant range of non-professional music-making in the UK," said RPS Chief Executive James Murphy.
"The six shortlistees are representative of literally thousands of groups nationally who have inventively, resourcefully, resiliently found ways to keep making music together through the pandemic, not only keeping their own spirits bright but cheering their localities too. They are a powerful, timely reminder of what makes our nation so musical, and the sheer creativity occurring on our doorsteps."
Voting will be open until 11 AM on September 30, and you can cast your vote using the online voting form.