Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to announce that Krystian Zimerman has been awarded a Praemium Imperiale 2022. The prestigious prize, one of the world’s most important for artists working in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film, recognises the global impact and influence of the acclaimed Polish pianist’s musicianship. It also honours the unshakeable strength of his personal integrity as a performer working at the highest level for almost half a century.
Founded in 1989 to cover those areas of achievement not represented by the Nobel Prizes, the Praemium Imperiale Awards are given annually by the Japan Art Association under the honorary patronage of His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, younger brother of the Emperor Emeritus of Japan.
This year’s winners were announced in London this morning by Lord Patten of Barnes in his capacity as Praemium Imperiale’s International Advisor in the UK. Each of the five laureates receives a gold medal and an honorarium of 15 million yen (c.$/€105,000/£90,000).
“In these deeply polarising times, artists’ ability to command attention, inspire reflection and bring solace is more crucial than ever,” observed Lord Patten. “Praemium Imperiale testifies to the important contribution that Japan has made in honouring achievement in the arts.”
Krystian Zimerman’s award coincides with the 30 September release of his latest Deutsche Grammophon recording, Karol Szymanowski: Piano Works. Paying tribute to Szymanowski on the 140th anniversary of his birth, the album explores the composer’s colourful sound world and reveals the multifaceted nature of his pianistic language. It features four of the nine Preludes Op.1; the exquisite Variations on a Polish Folk Tune Op.10; the impressionistic Masques Op.34, written during the First World War; and four of his twenty folk-inspired Mazurkas Op.50. The Preludes, Mazurkas and Variations were recorded earlier this year at the Fukuyama concert hall, designed by world-renowned acoustician Dr Yasuhisa Toyota.
Krystian Zimerman’s place among today’s greatest artists rests not least on the freshness and originality of his performances, always intensely personal and prepared in meticulous detail. His approach belongs to a dynamic process of creative evolution, one in which self-criticism, deep reflection and intuition play significant parts. “The final thing – that which art is made of – happens in the concert hall,” he notes.