Germany's Gerhaher is top classical singer for Britain's RPS

LONDON (Reuters) - German baritone Christian Gerhaher was named best classical singer of 2014 and Latvian Andris Nelsons the year's best conductor by Britain's Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) on Tuesday. It was the second major award for Gerhaher, who last month was named top male vocalist at the International Opera Awards. Nelsons is the outgoing head of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The RPS, which was founded in 1813 and commissioned Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, gives awards at its annual May dinner for "the best live classical music-making" in Britain during the previous year. Scottish percussionist Colin Currie was chosen as best instrumentalist while English soprano Mary Bevan was the best young singer. The English National Opera, London's financially troubled second house, got the award for opera and music theater while the Oxford Lieder Festival won the award for chamber music. The London Contemporary Orchestra got the nod for best ensemble. Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen won in the category of large-scale composition and British composer Graham Fitkin won for his chamber music. Antonio Pappano, the music director of the Royal Opera House, received the RPS Gold Medal, making him the 100th recipient since the award was established in 1870, the society said. (Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Tom Heneghan)