May 13, 2014 / 9:04 PM / 5 years ago

British composer Birtwistle gets award for "Moth Requiem"

British composer Harrison Birtwistle poses for photographers in front of a sculpture of a minotaur at Covent Garden in London April 8, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British composer Harrison Birtwistle won his fifth major award from Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Society on Tuesday, taking the prize for small chamber composition in his 80th birthday year.

Birtwistle, who has won more RPS awards than any other person, took the prize for his choral chamber work “The Moth Requiem” that employed the names of moths that have become extinct in modern Britain, the RPS said in announcing the awards.

British composer George Benjamin won for the category of large-scale composition for his opera “Written on Skin” which was first staged at the Aix-en-Provence festival in France in 2012 and has gone on to have performances around the world.

Other major winners announced by the RPS at an awards ceremony in London included conductor Daniel Barenboim for his performances of Richard Wagner’s entire 16-hour “Ring” cycle of four operas at the BBC Proms concerts last summer.

American soprano Joyce DiDonato won the prize for best singer and Moldovan Patricia Kopatchinskaja won the accolade for best instrumentalist.

“What unites all our winners is their desire to inspire existing enthusiasts and to reach out to new audiences with a boldness founded on passion and compellingly brilliant musicality,” John Gilhooley, chairman of the RPS, said in a statement.

The RPS is a British musical association that forges links between musicians and audiences and has, over its more than 200-year history, commissioned many important works of music, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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