An ambitious project about the composer Igor Stravinsky has won a South Bank Sky Arts award.

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2016 series ‘Stravinsky: Myths and Rituals’ won the classical music category of the prestigious prize.

The series was directed by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the series consultant was Professor Jonathan Cross of Oxford University’s Music Faculty.

Professor Cross was in stellar company - other prize-winners included Ken Loach, Rose Tremain and (posthumously) David Bowie.

At the core of the project was a series of performances of Stravinsky’s works by the Philharmonia Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall, plus spin-off performances in Aix-en-Provence and San Francisco.

Professor Cross advised on the repertoire and helped to shape the programmes for these performances.

He also gave talks to the audience before concerts, took part in broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, and led study days at the South Bank. Along with the digital material, this allowed him to reach a new, large audience with his research on Stravinsky, which includes an acclaimed new biography.

Professor Cross also edited and wrote much of the series programme book, and he helped produce and present films and digital materials for the series website.

The 35-minute documentary film, Stravinsky’s Journeys, in which he talks about Stravinsky’s Paris years, has already been seen by tens of thousands of viewers. 

Professor Cross said: ‘I wanted people not just to hear Stravinsky’s music in the abstract, but to think of the composer whose life was affected by two world wars, revolution, emigration and tragedy, how those contexts left their mark on his music, and how his music in turn left its mark on the 20th century.’

Professor Cross talked to Arts Blog about the project last year. 

The awards ceremony, presented by Melvyn Bragg, was broadcast on Sky TV last night (Wednesday 12 July).