Isabelle Faust wins ‘Recording of the Year’ for Mozart violin concertos
Vasily Petrenko voted ‘Artist of the Year’ in only public poll
Beatrice Rana wins ‘Young Artist of the Year’
Classic FM wins ‘Anniversary Award’
Colin Matthews awarded ‘Special Achievement’
Signum Classics wins ‘Label of the Year’

The biggest names in classical music gathered at London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue last night [Wednesday 13 September 2017] for the 40th anniversary of the Gramophone Awards – the ‘Oscars of the classical music world’ - to celebrate the very best in classical music.

Legendary soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was awarded Lifetime Achievement, on the day she confirmed she would never sing in public again. The award honours a sensational career that has spanned nearly 50 years, as well as for her work nurturing young singers with the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. Twenty-five years after she won Artist of the Year Award back in 1992, her Award was presented by her Downton Abbey co-star and fellow-singer Julian Ovenden. She was greeted with a standing ovation and rousing cheers as she made her way to the stage to collect the prestigious prize.

James Jolly, Gramophone’s Editor in Chief, said of Dame Kiri: ‘If anyone has experienced success it is this possessor of one of the loveliest voices of modern times.’ The Lifetime Achievement award was sponsored by Presto Classical.

The prestigious Recording of the Year was awarded to German violinist Isabelle Faust for her ‘refreshing collection’ of Mozart violin concertos with period-instrument ensemble Il Giardino Armonico and their conductor Giovanni Antonini on Harmonia Mundi. According to Gramophone this recording, which also won the Concerto category, ‘offers a new way of hearing these deliciously Italianate masterpieces’ and praises Faust for the shimmering beauty of her sound. This award was sponsored by Qobuz.

Vasily Petrenko, a former Young Artist of the Year back in 2007, was voted Artist of the Year in the only publicly-chosen Award. Gramophone paid particular tribute to his extraordinary work with both the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras and his critically-acclaimed recordings of Tchaikovsky and Elgar symphonies with the RLPO on Onyx, which have ensured that his star has risen continually over the years.

Italian pianist Beatrice Rana was crowned Young Artist of the Year as she continues to arouse admiration and interest from conductors, critics and audiences around the world. A BBC New Generation Artist and an exclusive Warner Classics recording artist at just 24, she has already produced two critically-acclaimed albums praised for ‘calm stillness that betokens perfectly relaxed technique and allows her to bring out the innate intelligence of her musical personality… a pianist through and through’. Help Musicians UK sponsored this award. Rana proved this at the ceremony, performing a stunning rendition of Liszt’s transcription of Clara Schumann’s Widmung, which she recently played as an encore at BBC Proms.

Classic FM received a special Anniversary Award in honour of the station’s 25th anniversary highlighting the important role the station plays in promoting classical artists, their recordings, partnerships with orchestras across the country and their tireless work making classical music accessible to as broad an audience as possible. It was collected by Sam Jackson, Managing Editor of Classic FM.

In the year that Signum Classics celebrates its 20th anniversary, it was announced as Label of the Year, which was sponsored by Classical:Next. With over 500 releases since its inception in 1997 and 50 new and varied recordings released each year, the label is also home to major artists such as the Philharmonia with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrielis, The King’s Singers, Tenebrae, Classical Opera and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and has steadily made its name as one of the most productive labels on the classical music scene. Steve Long, Founder and Managing Director of Signum Classics, commented: ‘Over the years Signum has been involved with making literally dozens of award winning albums and programmes including 20-plus Gramophone Awards, a few Grammy’s and BAFTAs and even an Oscar, but I have to say, this is the big one and we’re delighted, especially in our 20th Anniversary year. Here’s to the next 40 years of the Gramophone Awards and to the future of classical music.’

Colin Matthews OBE received a Special Achievement Award from Sir Mark Elder in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British musical life over the last 40 years. While his work as a composer, arranger and orchestrator (including Associate Composer posts at revered orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé) is impressive in its own right, “it is as founder and executive producer of NMC Records that Matthews has made arguably his greatest contribution to the UK contemporary scene” said Gramophone. PPL and PRS For Music sponsored this award.

Winners of many of the pre-announced Category Awards – Murray Perahia, Sir George Benjamin, Iestyn Davies, Carolyn Sampson and Phantasm among them – were also at the ceremony to collect their awards and there were performances by winners past and present, including Benjamin Appl – who sang with the Pan-Armenian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sergey Smbatyan – Iestyn Davies and Carolyn Sampson in addition to Beatrice Rana, representing some of this year’s winners, as well as The Tallis Scholars and Peter Phillips, who became firmly established stars of the world’s music scene after winning Recording of the Year in 1987.

Peter Phillips, Founder and Director of The Tallis Scholars, explained just why Gramophone’s recognition matters: ‘Winning Recording of the Year Award in 1987 transformed my career. It was the first time that a recording of Early Music had won it. The previous winners included Herbert von Karajan and Charles Mackerras (both twice), Colin Davis, Claudio Abbado, and a young Nigel Kennedy. Placing our work alongside such well-known artists opened doors that were previously closed, helping us to launch what has proved to be one of the most influential careers on the modern concert platform.’

The Gramophone Classical Music Awards were presented in association with the Pan-Armenian Symphony Orchestra, Qobuz, Naim and the BPI, with individual awards supported by Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Classical:Next, the European Foundation for Support of Culture, E Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers, Help Musicians UK, IDAGIO, the PPL & PRS for Music, Presto Classical, Primephonic, Qobuz and Mrs Joan Jones.

 

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