Category winners announced on August 31 in advance of awards ceremony in London on September 13
Gramophone today [August 10] announced the top three recordings in the ten main categories of its prestigious annual Gramophone Classical Music Awards. The Awards – given this year in association with Estonia 100, the BPI and Qobuz – celebrate outstanding recordings of the past year, as well as acknowledging artists, ensembles and labels that have made extraordinary contributions to the classical recording industry. Live music will once again form a central part of the awards ceremony on September 13 to be held at The De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London, this year provided by the internationally-renowned Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances by award winners past and present.
For the third consecutive year, the Awards are broadcast free by medici.tv to audiences in more than 180 countries. Last year, more than 65,000 people tuned in from over the globe. The broadcast is sponsored jointly by E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers and by IMG Artists.
The shortlist this year reflects the great wealth of international talent working in the industry today. French composers and artists dominate both the Opera and Recital categories: Berlioz's Les Troyens (conducted by John Nelson and featuring Joyce DiDonato, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Michael Spyres) faces competition from the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and Lully's Alceste conducted by Christophe Rousset in the Opera category, while French singers Delphine Galou, Sabine Devieilhe and Véronique Gens compete for the Recital prize. French songs also feature heavily in the Solo Vocal category, where Malcolm Martineau's second volume of the complete songs by Fauré is pitted against Marianne Crébassa's 'Secrets', a collection of songs by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Duparc.
The Instrumental category is once again an all-piano affair, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording of Messiaen's Catalogue d'Oiseaux, Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes's disc of works for two pianos by Stravinsky and Arcadi Volodos's collection of Brahms's piano works all vying for the Award.
The late Oliver Knussen is acknowledged in the Orchestral category for his recording of the late works of Elliott Carter with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in a category which also features François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles for their recording of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé and Teodor Currenztis's recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 6 with Musica Aeterna.
The full list of nominees for all ten categories – Chamber, Choral, Concerto, Contemporary, Early Music, Instrumental, Opera, Orchestral, Recital and Solo Vocal – can be found in Gramophone's September issue and digital magazine published today.
The category winners will be announced on August 31, and one of these will go on to win Recording of the Year (sponsored by Qobuz) announced at the ceremony on September 13 alongside other special awards including Artist of the Year, Young Artist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Presto Classical), Label of the Year (sponsored by Classical:Next) and Orchestra of the Year (sponsored by Apple Music), a new award this year and the only one to be decided by public vote.
James Jolly, Gramophone's Editor-in-Chief, said: "The summer months have been especially enjoyable this year as we’ve weighed up the merits of the contending recordings, and bear witness to the spectacularly high standard of music making we can all too frequently take for granted. Some of these categories could be won by any one of the six competing recordings, and choosing that single one was often very tough. The final list is mouth-watering, but meanwhile be dazzled by these 30 recordings that will soon be reduced to just ten!’