The distinguished conductor and pioneer of the early music movement Nikolaus Harnoncourt
will become the latest recipient of one of musicís most esteemed honours, the Royal
Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, when he is presented with the coveted medal at the
Barbican on Sunday 22 April. Harnoncourt will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
of Amsterdam at the Barbican in Beethovenís Missa Solemnis and will receive the medal from
John Gilhooly, RPS Chairman, in an on-stage presentation during the afternoonís concert.
Since its initiation in 1870, recipients of the RPS Gold Medal have included Brahms (1877),
Delius and Elgar (1925), Richard Strauss (1936), Stravinsky (1954), Britten and Bernstein
(1987). More recently, the medal has been awarded to Sir Charles Mackerras, Daniel
Barenboim, Henri Dutilleux and Thomas Quasthoff.
The award was created to commemorate the centenary of Beethovenís birth and celebrates the
close relationship between the Society and the composer (the RPS commissioned Beethovenís
9th Symphony and championed his work). It is thus particularly fitting that Harnoncourt, whose
performances and recordings of Beethovenís work have achieved a legendary status, will
receive this award during a concert of Beethovenís Missa Solemnis.
In awarding the RPS Gold Medal to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the citation of the society comments:
Nikolaus Harnoncourt was a pioneer in the early period instrument revival, but much more
besides. As a conductor his name is legendary with singers for his extraordinary vision into early,
baroque, classical and even operetta. Performances with Harnoncourt are always unique and
Nearly 60 years ago he formed the Concentus Musicus Wien with period instruments, but he
also works with most of the world's main orchestras using modern instruments and was one of
the earliest pioneers of this dual approach. His performances of the Monteverdi operas along
with the Mozart cycle in Zurich stand as landmark events. He is a man who is dedicated to
music and humanity.