IT was a bold, unique musical experiment.

And it has put Huddersfield firmly on the classical map.

The project to bring 50 local pianists to play together at the same time was one of the highlights of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

And now that concert, along with other features from the festival, means the Huddersfield event tops the shortlists for the RPS Music Awards – the country’s most prized live classical music awards.

The festival has been nominated in three separate categories, more than any other orchestra, group or event in the country.

The organisers are delighted to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of English National Opera, the London Sinfonietta, the Southbank Centre and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The pianos concert in Huddersfield makes the shortlist in the education awards. It was the first performance of its kind in the UK.

Fifty amateur pianists played the same piece of music simultaneously in the same venue, Huddersfield Town Hall.

The performance came after a mammoth logistical operation to ensure the instruments were all in place at the right time. The piece the musicians tackled was Piano Phasing by Dutch composer Kristoffer Zegers.

He was inspired to write the music from his childhood experiences.

Initially, Zegers wanted 50 pianos and 100 pianists to play the piece.

A second nomination comes in the Chamber-Scale Composition section, for composer Pierre Alexandre Tremblay’s piece “un clous,son martaeu et le beton”, which was again premiered in Huddersfield last November.

And the third shortlisted nomination has gone to the festival itself, with the judges singing the praises of “the multiple premieres and weirdly wonderful offerings.”

It has made the final four in the category for concert series and festivals.

Graham Sheffield, chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, said: “These shortlists have been debated and chosen by independent juries of incisive minds and strong opinions, and reflect the nominations of musicians and music lovers nationwide.

“What they reveal is the breadth of talent and invention in classical music in the UK on an unprecedented scale, and it is particularly refreshing to see so many young artists making a splash in 2009.

“I congratulate all of our shortlisted nominees and look forward to announcing the winners on Tuesday, May 11.”