Terfel, Alsop, Hough, Adams, Galway Among Winners of Classical Brit Awards
Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Independent [London]
By Louise Jury
Marin Alsop, a rare female conductor in a field dominated by men, was honoured last night at the Classical Brit Awards.
Alsop, a New Yorker who has a long track record of working in Britain, where she is principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, beat the American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and the pianist Martha Argerich to win the female artist of the year award.
The honour comes just a fortnight before she is due to break the traditionally male preserve of the legendary Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 8 June. She has been chosen as the first woman to conduct the orchestra because, its spokesman reportedly explained, 'there were no good female conductors until now'.
Alsop was joined in the line-up of award winners by the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who was named male artist of the year, and Katherine Jenkins, who won the album of the year prize after becoming the fastest-selling female opera singer since Maria Callas with "Second Nature."
Jenkins, a former school teacher from Neath in south Wales, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since she was signed last year by Universal at the age of 23 in what was said to be the biggest record deal in UK classical recording history ó an unspecified seven-figure deal.
The Classical Brits, which were set up to honour classical music and add a touch of rock-and-roll glamour in the mould of the long-established rock and pop Brit Awards, were presented at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night and will be broadcast on ITV1 and ITV3 on Sunday 29 May.
John Adams ó the American composer who is artist-in-association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which has frequently performed his music at the Proms ó won the contemporary music award for On the Transmigration of Souls, which has already won three Grammies. It was composed to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 11 September attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.
The veteran film composer John Williams won the best soundtrack award for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Terminal.
The cellist, Natalie Clein, 28, a former BBC Young Musician of the Year, was named young British classical performer for her recording of Brahms's Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 and Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata.
The critics chose the Cheshire-born pianist Stephen Hough's recording of Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for their own special award. Hough, who divides his time between homes in Britain and America, was praised by critics for his 'spontaneous sweep and grandeur'.
The flautist James Galway, who will be 65 in December, was honoured for his outstanding contribution to music and was among the award winners to perform at last night's ceremony, which was sponsored by National Savings and Investments.
The ensemble/orchestral album of the year prize went to The Sixteen, a vocal ensemble founded more than a quarter of a century ago by the conductor Harry Christophers, for their chart-topping album "Renaissance." Their rivals for the award included Bryn Terfel, who was also shortlisted for the best album.
The ceremony was hosted by Lesley Garrett, the opera singer, with performances by popular classical favourites including Julian Lloyd Webber, the cellist, and one of the latest hot classical signings, Nicola Benedetti, a young violinist from Scotland.
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