The 74 year old was selected as the 101st recipient of the honour, following in the footsteps of fellow classical stars, Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and British conductor Antonio Pappano.

Announcing this year's recipient, RPS chairman John Gilhooly says, "Martha Argerich's combination of technical mastery and passionate artistry make her one of the most compelling and expressive pianists, and her extraordinary live performances are a musical and intellectual tour de force. She is a consummate chamber music collaborator."

The award was founded in 1870 in celebration of Beethoven's birth centenary.