The 2012 Gramophone Awards have been announced, with major accolades going to Vox Luminis, Joseph Calleja, Claudio Abbado and Murray Perahia. The world’s most influential classical music prizes, this year presented in association with Steinway & Sons and EFG International, were awarded at a ceremony today at London’s Dorchester Hotel, co-hosted by composer and conductor Eric Whitacre and soprano Danielle de Niese.
Baroque ensemble Vox Luminis were named winners of the prestigious Recording of the Year for their recording of Schütz’s Musicalische Exequien, released on the Ricercar label. ‘What strikes me principally about this wonderful disc is how Vox Luminis delight as much in the abstract brilliance of Schütz’s melodic and harmonic invention as in the mere projection of words – which is why these performances deserve to reach audiences beyond early-music boffins and receive a broad mainstream listenership,’ said Gramophone critic Jonathan Freeman-Attwood.
Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja was named Artist of the Year in Gramophone’s only publicly-voted award. Still only 34, Calleja is a tenor of uncommon distinction, whose win follows a high-profile 2011-12 season. A former student of Paul Asciak, Calleja has worked hard to uphold the traditions of a long line of great singers, and today has more than fulfilled his early promise. Calleja won the worldwide public vote for Artist of the Year ahead of musicians including Natalie Dessay, Daniel Barenboim, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Isabelle Faust and Magdalena Kožená.
Two musicians, who for many years have represented the best in artistic exploration and achievement, were also honoured. The great conductor Claudio Abbado received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Murray Perahia received the Piano Award - a new prize, introduced this year, celebrating one of today’s most respected artists.
Brilliant 20-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor was named Young Artist of the Year after an outstanding 12 months of recording and live performance; he also received the Instrumental Award for his disc of Chopin, Liszt and Ravel on Decca, making him Gramophone’s youngest ever double Award-winner.
Label of the Year went to innovative French label, Naïve. Also recognised with a Special Historic Award was Supraphon’s recording of ‘Václav Talich – Live 1939’, a unique historical and musical document.
For more information about these and all the 15 recording category winners, visit our Awards page, where you can also find out how to download selected free tracks by Award-winners for free on iTunes.
Tune in to David Mellor's Classic FM radio show on Sunday, September 30, which will be dedicated to three Gramophone Award-winners.