Internationally-recognised pianist Emanuel Ax was awarded the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Lifetime Award for Musical Achievement, Tuesday 27 March in New York. Ax becomes the second recipient of the award following its inception last year when baritone Thomas Hampson was the inaugural recipient.
The award recognises the achievements of musicians of significant achievement who have won acclaim and affection on both sides of the Atlantic. It was presented at the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (AFLPO) Fiftieth Anniversary Gala Dinner in Manhattan’s famous Morgan Library by Antony Phillipson, Her Majesty's Consul General in New York. The dinner was attended by 150 people from the worlds of business, philanthropy and the arts, and raised funds in support of the Orchestra's activities in the United States.
Emanuel Ax was honoured on the evening with performances by tenor soloist Kang Wang (who performed with the London Philharmonic in London in autumn last year), by two of the Orchestra’s American musicians – Co-Leader Kevin Lin and Principal Viola David Quiggle – and by broadway singer Mario Frangoulis.
Emanuel Ax said: 'I am delighted to have received this award from the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Having worked with this Orchestra and its Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski over the years, including here in New York, it is clear to me that this is a magnificent artistic partnership that produces top class performances of classical music. I am pleased to be associated with them and look forward very much to us working together again in the future.’
Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra said: 'It has been a pleasure and a privilege for the Orchestra to have made music with an artist of the excellence and humility of Emanuel Ax. He first performed with the Orchestra twenty-five years ago in 1993 at our London home, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. He has presented with us over the years some of the great concertos of the canon by Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart; he has also brought music by Stravinsky, Strauss and Haydn to our audiences. His Beethoven 5 with Vladimir Jurowski back in 2011 at Carnegie Hall still lives fresh in the memory for all of us that were there. It is typical of Manny that when I first contacted him to offer his this accolade, he replied that I should find someone more deserving and that he would present the award to them. Manny, this award is for you and we cannot wait to have you back with our Orchestra again.’
Simon Freakley, Chairman of the American Friends of the LPO said: 'The mission of the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra is, through fundraising, to provide a bridge across the Atlantic so that we can continue to bring the very best music from the UK, in the form of the LPO, to the United States. The affection and admiration for Emanuel Ax in both his native America and in the UK, where he has performed countless times, is in tune with our values and mission and he has helped us in recent years through generous donations of his time and musical brilliance with private performances to raise funds for the Orchestra’s cause. We are delighted to be presenting this award to him tonight.'