Military Wives win Classic Brit Award

Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir performed at the ceremony after their win

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Gareth Malone and his choir of Military Wives have won single of the year at the Classic Brit awards for their hit record Wherever You Are.

The Christmas chart-topper beat Nessun Dorma and other classic tracks to win the prize, voted for by the public.

Choirmaster Malone described the award, presented at a ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall, as "the candle on the icing of a very large cake".

The Wives celebrated by performing Diamond Jubilee anthem, Sing.

They were accompanied by the song's composers, Take That star Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who both played grand pianos.

Violinist Andre Rieu won his second album of the year prize for And The Waltz Goes On at the ceremony, to be broadcast on ITV1 on 7 October.

Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins found himself with a share of the award after one of his compositions - the album's title track - featured on Rieu's record.

Rieu dedicated the prize to Sir Anthony, describing him as "the greatest actor we have now on this planet".

Sir Anthony Hopkins Sir Anthony said the waltz used on Rieu's album was written in 1964

Speaking backstage, however, the Silence of the Lambs star insisted the win was all down to Rieu and said he was "just here by happy accident".

US composer John Williams was honoured with a lifetime achievement award that recognised his work on dozens of scores for such movies as Jaws, Star Wars and Superman.

The 80-year-old was also awarded a best composer prize recognising his scores for the Steven Spielberg films War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin.

At 20, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor became the Classic Brits' youngest ever male winner, taking the critics' choice prize for his album Chopin, Liszt and Ravel.

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti won the award for top female artist, while the best male artist award went to Vasily Petrenko, the Russian conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other winners included classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic, who took the award for breakthrough artist of the year, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who collected the prize for best international artist.

The Duchess of Cornwall had been due to attend the event, hosted by Myleene Klass, but was forced to pull out due to a middle ear infection and sinusitis.

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