Star string players Nicola Benedetti and Abel Selaocoe are in the running for the instrumentalist award, and the new Inspiration Award will celebrate non-professional ensembles

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Abel Selaocoe © Ben Bonouvrier and Mark Simpson © Chelsey Browne

The Royal Philharmonic Society have announced shortlists across 11 categories in the annual RPS Awards, each decided by independent panels. Prominent string finalists include violinist Nicola Benedetti and cellist Abel Selaocoe, who are in the running for the instrumentalist award category. Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto is in contention for the large-scale composition award, which was composed and premiered by Benedetti and the London Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.

New this year, the Inspiration Award will celebrate non-professional ensembles who have kept communities connected through the pandemic. The public is invited to cast a vote from a shortlist of six entities, which are:

Aberdeen and Phoenix Saxophone Orchestras

Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkshire

Hilary Campbell and Bristol Choral Society

Orkney Winter Choir and Orkney Camerata

South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus

Themba Mvula and Lichfield Gospel Choir

Votes close on the RPS website at 11am this Thursday, 30 September.

RPS Chief Executive James Murphy says: ‘We are so pleased to reveal this year’s RPS Awards shortlists, collectively representing the astonishing hard work, generosity and goodwill of musicians throughout the pandemic. In current times, look no further for a good news story about people nationwide giving the best of themselves to support others. Here is proof for anyone who yet needs it of the invaluable, rousing role that musicians can play in the nation’s recovery.’

The 2021 RPS Awards take place at Wigmore Hall, London, at 7.30pm on Monday 1 November. The RPS Awards will be filmed and streamed on the RPS website at a later date, and longstanding Awards partner BBC Radio 3 will present a special broadcast featuring music of the winners and nominees hosted by Katie Derham at 7.30pm on Monday 8 November.

Read: Live-streamed concert review: Nicola Benedetti (violin) London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda

Read: Opinion: Across the decades

Watch: Cellist Abel Selaocoe performs ‘Nagula’