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Car park orchestra wins classical award

Do Not UseDo Not Use 11/05/2016 By Mark Savage
BBC © BBC BBC

An orchestra that plays in a multi-storey car park in south London has won a top prize at the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.

The Multi-Story Orchestra was praised for its "ingenuity and impact in the local community" as it picked up the audience engagement prize.

Sakari Oramo, leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, won best conductor.

And the National Youth Orchestra took the ensemble award, as judges called it "a beacon of excellence for decades".

They reserved particular praise for the orchestra's outreach campaign, which aimed "to engage hundreds more teenagers" at a "time when music has such a precarious place in the schools' curriculum".

Pianist Clare Hammond, who appeared as a young Maggie Smith playing at the Proms in last year's Alan Bennett movie The Lady in the Van, won the award for young artists.

The 32-year-old, whose recent album of piano etudes was praised in Gramophone magazine for its "unfaltering bravura and conviction", is currently taking a break from performances to have a baby.

The jury praised her "commitment to new repertoire" and "compelling presence as a performer".

Russian virtuoso pianist Daniil Trifonov won the instrumentalist award and was commended by the jury for his "technical brilliance, deep musicality and fearless sense of adventure".

The musician, who is only 25, has been called a "superstar" and a "phenomenon". He gave his first concert aged eight, apparently losing one of his baby teeth mid-performance.

Internationally renowned opera director Graham Vick was presented with honorary membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS), joining the likes of Brahms (1882), Clara Schumann (1887), Stravinsky (1921), Aaron Copland (1970) and Evelyn Glennie (2015).

Vick, who is currently artistic director of Birmingham Opera Company, has spent his career bringing opera to new audiences.

In his early 20s, he founded a small touring group with funds from a government job creation scheme to take productions to remote communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Later, in the 1980s, he worked with a group of 300 unemployed young people on Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story in an abandoned mill in Yorkshire.

In its citation, the RPS said: "Graham Vick has single-handedly changed the way we think about opera. Everything he does stems from a passionate belief that opera that has excellence and accessibility at its core, speaks to everyone.

"He has taken opera out of the opera house and revitalised the repertoire, creating productions that engage both operatic newcomers and the most hardened devotees."

The ceremony, held at The Brewery in London, will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 19:30 BST on Wednesday, 11 May.

The full list of winners was as follows:

Audiences and Engagement - Multi-Story

Chamber Music and Song - Carducci String Quartet

Chamber-Scale Composition - Julian Anderson - Van Gogh Blue

Concert Series and Festivals - Kings Place: Minimalism Unwrapped

Conductor - Sakari Oramo

Creative Communication - The Other Classical Musics (Boydell Press, edited by Michael Church) Ensemble - National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

Instrumentalist - Daniil Trifonov

Large-Scale Composition - Luca Francesconi - Duende: The Dark Notes

Learning and Participation - Tri-borough Music Hub - Seven Seeds

Opera and Music Theatre - Glyndebourne Festival Opera - Saul

Singer - Roderick Williams

Young Artists - Clare Hammond

Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society - Graham Vick

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