The 2013 Gramophone Classical Music Awards have been announced, with major accolades going to Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Alison Balsom, Julian Bream and Jan Lisiecki.
The world’s most influential classical music prizes, this year presented in association with Steinway & Sons and EFG International, were announced at a ceremony on September 17 at London’s LSO St Luke’s, hosted by Gramophone’s editor-in-chief James Jolly, and featuring performances from Benjamin Grosvenor, Jan Lisiecki, Steven Osborne, Ian Bostridge and Xuefei Yang, Barnabás Kelemen and Katalin Kokas, and Alison Balsom.
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja was named the winner of the prestigious Recording of the Year for her Naïve album of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No 2, Ligeti’s Violin Concerto and the world premiere of Peter Eötvös’s seven, performed with Ensemble Modern and the Hessen Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eötvös. ‘Against robust competition, this disc forged ahead to take our Award of Awards because it has a story to tell – and exactly the right people are telling it,’ said Gramophone critic Philip Clark.
Trumpeter Alison Balsom was named Artist of the Year in Gramophone’s only publicly-voted award, sponsored by Mrs Joan Jones and presented by Classic FM’s John Suchet. One of the most popular musicians of our time, Balsom is a powerful exponent of her instrument, equally at home in music of the Baroque and Classical periods, and in contemporary repertoire. This year has been a busy one, with a US tour, appearances on Sky Arts’ South Bank Show and at the Latitude Festival, an acting debut at the Globe Theatre, and the release of compilation album ‘The Sound of Alison Balsom’ by her label Warner Classics (né EMI). Balsom won the worldwide public vote for Artist of the Year ahead of musicians including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Janine Jansen, the Jerusalem Quartet, Jonas Kaufmann, Marc-André Hamelin and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was legendary guitarist Julian Bream, who not only championed the instrument as a performer, but inspired leading composers of the day to write for it. Bream was presented with his award by fellow guitarist Miloš Karadaglić. Also honoured for years of dedication and achievement was Alain Lanceron, who received the Special Achievement Award for his work as the guiding spirit behind Virgin Classics and as former director of the classical department of Pathé Marconi-EMI.
At the tender age of 18, Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki was named Young Artist of the Year and presented with the award by Royal Opera House music director Sir Antonio Pappano. Lisiecki’s new Chopin disc for DG, reviewed in the October issue of Gramophone, prompted the following question from Bryce Morrison: ‘When, if ever, have you heard the Chopin Etudes played as pure music, given as naturally as breathing yet recreated from an entirely novel perspective?’
Label of the Year went to Decca Classics, whose message in 2013, under the enlightened leadership of industry veteran Paul Moseley, is of renewing tradition, nurturing musicians and enriching lives.
The 11 category-winning recordings were revealed exclusively on the Gramophone website on August 27 – a first in the history of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards. For information on the 11 category winners, including excerpts, interviews, composer biographies and reviews, visit our Awards page, where you can also find out how to download the winning recordings as high quality ‘Mastered for iTunes’ files.