Young artists and lifetime achievements at the Gramophone Awards

The winners of the classical music industry’s most glamorous awards were announced last night, 15 September, at a glittering ceremony in London’s St John’s Smith Square.

Performers on the night included Benjamin Appl with James Baillieu, Vilde Frang, Igor Levit, Véronique Gens and Susan Manoff.

Awards were presented by a list of stars including Simon Callow, Anoushka Shankar, Miloš Karadaglić, Joseph Calleja, Susan Bullock, and Ksenija Sidorova Arizaga.

The Gramophone Awards, presented in association with EFG International and The BPI, celebrate exceptional young talent, alongside stalwarts of the industry. This year’s roll call of talent saw legendary mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her 45-year career.

Recording of the Year Award, sponsored by Qobuz, went to 29-year-old Russian pianist Igor Levit for his Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski Variations released on Sony Classical. Accepting the prize, he paid tribute to his friend, the American composer and pianist, Frederic Rzewski: ‘I met Frederic for the first time after having listened to The People United on the Hamelin record on Hyperion. We really became friends – the fact that I met him, the fact that I know him has been one of the greatest things in my life so far…’

German baritone (and BBC New Generation Artist for 2014–16) Benjamin Appl took Young Artist of the Year; 25-year-old pianist Daniil Trifonov was awarded Artist of the Year following an international public vote sponsored by Fazioli Pianos. BBC Radio 3, about to celebrate its 70th year, was honoured with a Special Achievement Award.

Label of the Year went to Warner Classics, the winners of the pre-announced category awards – Paul Agnew, Heath Quartet, Markus Stenz, Vilde Frang, Andrew Parrott, Sir Antonio Pappano, and Véronique Gens – were also present to accept their prizes.

For the first time the Gramophone Awards ceremony went out to a wider audience via a live stream on Medici.TV, with parallel broadcasts on classicfm.com and gramophone.co.uk.

Gramophone’s Awards issue of Gramophone is published on 16 September with a celebratory Awards CD, featuring full tracks from each of the winning recordings, available to buy on Amazon.

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