Igor Levit receives 2018 Gilmore Artist Award

Martin Cullingford Wed 3rd January 2018

Prestigious award, worth $300,000, goes to 2016's Gramophone Recording of the Year winner

Igor Levit receives the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award (photo: Robbie Lawrence)

Igor Levit has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award. 

The prestigious Award - worth $300,000 - has a track record of honouring some of today’s most brilliant and interesting pianists, ones who combine virtuosity with individuality and a questing musical mind. Awarded every four years, the most recent winners were Rafał Blechacz in 2014, Kirill Gerstein (2010) and Ingrid Fliter (2006), all of whom have achieved acclaim for their subsequent achievements. Levit, however, is arguably much better-known than any of those three previous recipients were at the time of their Award; signed to Sony Classical, he received Gramophone’s Recording of the Year in 2016 for his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! 

In reviewing that release, Gramophone critic David Fanning captured some of the elements that the Gilmore Award defines itself as seeking. ‘Certainly he can muster all the athleticism, velocity and finesse of a competition winner ready to burst on to the international scene. But like the rarest of that breed – a Perahia, say – his playing already has a far-seeing quality that raises him to the status of the thinking virtuoso.’ 

Gilmore recipients are chosen following assessment by an anonymous, six-member Artistic Advisory Committee, who hear the nominees in numerous performances under varying conditions. Candidates for the Award are unaware they are under consideration.  

Daniel R Gustin, Director of the Irving S Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which gives the prize, described Levit as ‘not only a superb pianist but also a deeply thoughtful and insightful artist, and he made a deep impression on all of us who followed his performances over the last three years. He exemplifies the pianist that The Gilmore was formed to support.' 

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