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OPUS KLASSIK: UNIVERSAL MUSIC ARTISTS CELEBRATE HUGE SUCCESS AT CLASSICAL MUSIC'S BIGGEST NIGHT
Berlin, 14 October 2019 – Last night, the OPUS KLASSIK Awards, one of Germany’s most important awards ceremonies for classical musicians, took place at Konzerthaus Berlin. The list of winners included many artists signed to UNIVERSAL MUSIC‘s classical labels, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM Records. They received awards for a total of nine productions. The event was hosted by celebrity television presenter Thomas Gottschalk.
(from left to right- Frank Briegmann, CEO & President UNIVERSAL MUSIC Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon; Andreas Ottensamer; Nadine Sierra; Lucie Horsch; Klaus-Florian Vogt; Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon)
The outstanding individual artistic achievements of the award winning musicians were at the centre of the ceremony. In addition, the awards also serve to reaffirm the innovative spirit of Deutsche Grammophon , Decca and ECM Records as well as the trusting relationships all three labels have with their artists. Soprano Nadine Sierra (Newcomer of the Year (Vocal)) secured another Newcomer award for Universal Music. Opera star Bryn Terfel (Classical Music without Borders) opened classical music to new audiences. Global star Lang Lang (Video of the Year) used his video to showcase the magic and the connecting element of classical music. Jörg Widmann (Composer of the Year) is one of the most versatile composers of his generation. Kim Kashkashian (Solo Recording/Viola) has contributed massively to the emancipation of the viola as a solo instrument and was recognised for her virtuosity. With Andreas Ottensamer (Instrumentalist/Clarinet), Vikingur Olafsson (Solo Recording/Piano) and Lucie Horsch (Concert Recording/Flute) completing the list, UNIVERSAL MUSIC artists once more demonstrated the remarkable diversity and vitality of classical music. The production Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Audio Visual Music Production) explores new creative territory in performance and interpretation.
Some of the musical highlights of the event were performances by Andreas Ottensamer with the Rondo from Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 and Nadine Sierra with the piece “Somewhere” by Leonard Bernstein. The award for Audio Visual Music Production was accepted by Klaus-Florian Vogt.
OPUS KLASSIK is Germany’s most important classical music prize and it honours extraordinary classical musicians and recording. It is hosted by the Association for the Promotion of Classical Music, which represents labels, concert promoters, publishers and personalities from the classical music world. OPUS KLASSIK is a jury prize.
Bisseh Akamé, Head of Promotion & Label Communication Deutsche Grammophon:
“Congratulations! All our winners have shown, once again, that classical music in all its varieties is a fascinating genre that touches and inspires people all over the world. I am particularly happy about the success of the OPUS KLASSIK award, which has established itself as a staple of the classical music year in a very short space of time. Our artists and the teams of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM Records have really earned this success. It is remarkable, that Deutsche Grammophon productions in both categories – short and long form – convinced the jury, which speaks to the innovative approach of our label.“
Frank Briegmann, CEO & President UNIVERSAL MUSIC Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon: “Congratulations to all our award winners. New talent, innovation, new formats and, of course, the top categories – Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM Records have been successful across the board, setting a shining example. The team of OPUS KLASSIK can be very proud of this event as can our media partner ZDF, who have done a magnificent job of setting the stage for the stars of classical music.“
Classical Music without Borders
“Dreams and Songs“
Composer of the Year
“J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Viola Solo (BWV 1007-1012)”
Video of the Year
Lang Lang - Beethoven: Bagatelle No. 25 in A Minor, WoO 59 "Für Elise" – Piano Book
Concert Recording of the Year /Flute
“There's A Place For Us“
Solo Recording / Piano
“Johann Sebastian Bach“
Audio Visual Music Production
“Meistersinger von Nürnberg“
Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca marks 65th anniversary of great conductor’s death
Who was the greatest conductor of all time? For many the answer can only be Wilhelm Furtwängler. The German musician, born in Berlin in 1886, secured global fame in the 1930s as music director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. While his involvement in Nazi cultural politics cast a long shadow over his reputation, his recordings bear witness to a magician capable of revealing fresh insights into even the best-known compositions.
Deutsche Grammophon’s Heritage Team has created a landmark new edition that offers cross-section comparisons of the conductor’s career in all its remarkable creative phases. Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, set for international release on 27 September 2019 to mark the 65th anniversary of his death, comprises 34 CDs, a DVD of his irresistible 1954 Salzburg Festival Don Giovanni performance, and in-depth essays and analysis from critic and blogger Norman Lebrecht and broadcaster Rob Cowan.
Lebrecht provides a nuanced assessment of the conservative-nationalist Furtwängler’s world view in his notes to the edition and in an accompanying video blog series. “There is nothing morally admirable about Furtwängler the man,” he concludes. “The music is another matter.”
Interest in Furtwängler’s music-making has arguably never been stronger. Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca offers collectors and first-time listeners alike the chance to explore every facet of his work.
The set features his debut recording, a compelling account of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony made with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1926, benchmark interpretations of Haydn’s Symphony No.88 and Schumann’s Fourth Symphony from the early 1950s, and a peerless performance of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto recorded in 1942 with Edwin Fischer as soloist. Among other highlights are overwhelming readings of Bruckner’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, the former made with the Wiener Philharmoniker, the latter with the Berliner Philharmoniker, both recorded in October 1944 as Hitler’s Reich was being reduced to rubble. Also included are the conductor’s recordings for Decca, now available complete for the first time, and a number of rare Japanese remasterings, previously inaccessible outside Japan.
Deutsche Grammophon’s new Furtwängler anthology covers the full spectrum of the conductor’s symphonic repertoire. The “treasure-trove here on offer,” observes Rob Cowan, “often defies belief for its impact and intuitive grasp of what sits at the soul of the music played”. Furtwängler’s experience as a composer and profound study of the formal structures of the symphony informed his awe-inspiring interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner. No matter how fluid his tempos or extreme his dynamic contrasts, he always sought to show the organic nature of every work he performed: “Every whole,” he wrote shortly before his death in 1954, “must be ‘simple’ in its own way, and by seeing it as a whole we are making it simple.”
The edition embraces his lightness of touch in such early Polydor recordings as Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Rossini’s La gazza ladra overtures. It also captures the full gravity of post-war radio recordings of, among many others, Beethoven’s Große Fuge, Brahms’s First Symphony and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Listeners can explore the nature of Furtwängler’s recordings from before, during and after the Second World War; compare his work with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker, or of the same composition with different soloists; and judge the respective qualities of his live and studio recordings. The latter include the Yellow Label’s 1951 recording of Furtwängler’s monumental Second Symphony, which he conducted often during his final years, and a sequence of recordings for Decca, César Franck’s Symphony in D minor legendary among them.
The son of an archaeologist father and artist mother, Wilhelm Furtwängler was a prodigiously talented child. His patrician family arranged for him to be privately educated – he excelled at music, began composing at the age of seven and received composition lessons from Joseph Rheinberger and Max von Schillings. Furtwängler’s early works, including a symphony, were ambitious if conservative in style; he chose conducting as a career, however, in order to make a living following his father’s early death and to develop his understanding of the art of musical interpretation. Wilhelm Furtwängler – Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca ideally illustrates his manner of building an interpretation with an extract from a 1930 rehearsal of Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche with the Berlin Philharmoniker and a selection of radio interviews in which he discusses (in German) such matters as tempo, style, acoustics and audiences.
“Critics are forever positing this or that modern maestro as a possible successor to Furtwängler. Dream on is what I say. Sixty-five years after his death, and we’re still waiting.”
Rob Cowan, Classic FM presenter and Furtwängler expert
HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR WINS HER FIRST EMMY FOR ACCLAIMED CHERNOBYL SOUNDTRACK
September 18, 2019: Composer, cellist and singer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Chernobyl soundtrack has been awarded an EMMY for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special. Also nominated in her category for a Creative Arts EMMY were David Arnold (Good Omens), T Bone Burnett (True Detective), Kris Bowers (When They See Us) and Edward Shearmur (Escape at Dannemora). The ceremony took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where the miniseries picked up a total of seven awards. Chernobyl has further nominations for next Sunday’s Primetime EMMY’s including Outstanding Limited Series.
Commenting on her success, Guðnadóttir said, “It’s been wonderful to follow the reactions to HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries over this summer. I recorded the building blocks for the soundtrack with field-recordist Chris Watson and score-producer Sam Slater at the Ignalina Power Plant in Lithuania, a decommissioned nuclear reactor in which the show was filmed. The vastness of the site directly influenced the score: ultimately no classical instruments were used, and instead the recordings were turned into music, where the only traditional instrumental element was my voice, which was subsequently processed using Impulse Responses recorded on the site. The show itself portrays the disaster with respect and realism, and I was adamant the score reflects this. I wanted to show the viewer how it would feel to be there, and to tell this story of fear, loss and, ultimately, human error.”
Guðnadóttir’s tense, eerie soundtrack plays an integral role in Chernobyl’s overwhelming, claustrophobic drama. The Berlin-based musician spent an entire day on the site in protective clothing prior to shooting, accompanied by Slater and Watson, a founding member of influential industrial music pioneers Cabaret Voltaire who’s also known for his work the past two decades on David Attenborough’s famed nature documentaries.
Deutsche Grammophon’s Senior Director New Repertoire, Christian Badzura, pays tribute to Guðnadóttir’s profound creative impact on the Chernobyl series. “Hildur has created such a hauntingly beautiful score, mostly based on field recordings,” he said. “The innovative and coherent musical language is so deeply interconnected with the moving picture, so that visuals and music become one aesthetic experience.”
Guðnadóttir has composed a number of soundtracks over the past decade, most recently Todd Phillips’ Joker, which is due for worldwide release in October. She also wrote the score for last year’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the follow up to Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 masterpiece, Sicario, which was in turn scored by her friend and regular collaborator, the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. In addition, Guðnadóttir has worked with a further cast of renowned artists, including Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, The Knife, Sunn O))) and Hauschka.
Frank Briegmann, CEO & President Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, congratulates Guðnadóttir on her EMMY win and praises her part in building Chernobyl’s realist drama. “Congratulations to Hildur for winning an EMMY. Her score for Chernobyl is of breathtaking intensity,” he noted. “With this work she has broken through the boundaries of her ‘home genre’, classical music, to enter new musical worlds. It’s an honour and a pleasure for me and the entire Deutsche Grammophon team to accompany Hildur in doing so.”
OPUS KLASSIK 2019 Winners
OPUS KLASSIK is one of Germany's most important prizes in the field of classical music. This year the “Verein zur Förderung der Klassischen Musik“ (Association for the Support of Classical Music), which makes the awards, has announced that DG artist Andreas Ottensamer has won one of their top awards, namely the Opus Klassik Award for "Instrumentalist of the Year” (Clarinet), one of three instrumentalist awards.
”You don’t play classical music for prizes or fame, but OPUS KLASSIK gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the music itself, projects we worked on all together and also to appreciate the teams behind the projects“ says Ottensamer, whose album “Blue Hour“ was the subject of his award.
Further prizes to DG artists were awarded to Nadine Sierra as „Up and Coming Young Singer“, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson for is album „Johann Sebastian Bach“ in the category "solo recordings" and Bryn Terfel in the category „Classical without Borders“.
This year one of the new prizes is for the best music video of the year, in cooperation with the streaming platform IDAGIO. It will be awarded to Lang Lang’s music video “Für Elise”.
Gala Television Broadcast
The awards ceremony OPUS KLASSIK 2019 will take place on October 13th in the Konzerthaus Berlin and will be broadcast on the national public broadcaster ZDF from 22:15. Thomas Gottschalk will be moderating as he did last year. Andreas Ottensamer and Nadine Sierra, amongst other award winners, will be performing live at the concert hall and on the television broadcast.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON KICKS OFF YEAR-LONG CELEBRATION OF BEETHOVEN’S 250TH BIRTHDAY
“It’s music for our time and all time” – Andris Nelsons
3 September 2019 (Bonn, Germany) – Deutsche Grammophon today unveiled its major new Beethoven 2020 campaign at an exclusive launch event at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, marking the start of a new partnership between the research centre and the label that has recorded more of Beethoven’s music than any other. VIP guests and international media were invited to get a first look at The New Complete Edition – a remarkable new box set and digital series featuring over 250 artists and 175 hours of music – and hear from four key figures who will be celebrating the composer’s 250th anniversary: world-renowned conductor Andris Nelsons; celebrated violinist and incoming President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Daniel Hope; Malte Boecker, Executive Director of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and Artistic Director of BTHVN2020; and President of Deutsche Grammophon, Dr Clemens Trautmann.
The centrepiece of the campaign is Beethoven – The New Complete Edition, which will be released on 8 November 2019. This 123-disc limited edition has been created in partnership with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and compiled in collaboration with Decca and ten other labels. It includes a new essay written by Professor Dr Christine Siegert, Director of the Beethoven Archive. This new collection represents the most up-to-date and comprehensive anthology of Beethoven’s music ever, recorded by some of the world’s greatest performers from Böhm to Brendel, Menuhin to Mutter and Perahia to Pollini. It includes a number of world premiere recordings: superstar pianist Lang Lang plays the little-known Menuett in C major (WoO 218) and Daniel Hope performs nine fragments or movements, including the last musical thought Beethoven wrote before his death. These are available now as a standalone digital album entitled “Rarities”, with many other recordings in the box set to be released digitally in the coming months.
“This selection of prize-winning recordings, rare gems and previously unreleased new recordings is a wellspring of musical inspiration and a perfect starting point for an extensive discovery of Beethoven’s legacy,” notes Malte Boecker of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Daniel Hope adds that he is “honoured to have recorded newly discovered works by Beethoven for the first time, in conjunction with the meticulous and scholarly work of the Beethoven-Haus”.
Watch the trailer for The New Complete Edition: https://youtu.be/1arM2wlhCsQ
Deutsche Grammophon also has an ambitious array of new Beethoven releases. Andris Nelsons and the Wiener Philharmoniker are joining forces to record all nine symphonies – a project that promises to reveal the compelling partnership between the conductor acclaimed by Die Zeit as “a force of nature” and the most renowned Beethoven orchestra in the world. The new cycle, released on 4 October 2019, is presented in a deluxe box with five CDs and a single Blu-ray Audio disc in TrueHD sound quality. Nelsons and the orchestra will perform complete cycles of the symphonies next year in Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna. Legendary Beethoven interpreter Maurizio Pollini will offer his mature thoughts on the composer’s late piano sonatas in a brand-new release. He will also perform at Munich’s Herkulessaal on 27 September 2019 in a special concert to kick off Beethoven’s 250th-anniversary campaign.
A new album from Jan Lisiecki, released on 13 September 2019, features the acclaimed young pianist’s fresh and insightful interpretations of the five piano concertos, in which he directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields from the keyboard. A host of other Beethoven albums are set to follow in 2020. Award-winning pianist Víkingur Ólafsson presents his interpretation of the beloved “Moonlight” Sonata, Daniel Hope turns narrator for Beethoven for Children and Matthias Goerne explores the rich expressive range of Beethoven’s Lieder.
Further anniversary-year highlights include Rudolf Buchbinder’s Diabelli 2020 project, which pairs Beethoven’s famous set of piano variations with specially commissioned responses from today’s major composers including Brett Dean, Max Richter, Lera Auerbach, Krzysztof Penderecki, Rodion Shchedrin and Jörg Widmann; and Krystian Zimerman’s own distinctive survey of the complete piano concertos.
“Beethoven’s world was turned upside down when he was still a young man,” observes Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “He was only in his late twenties when his hearing – the sense most vital to a composer – began to fail. By his mid-forties he was almost totally deaf. And yet he went on to write many of his greatest works long after he could no longer hear them in performance. The 250th anniversary of his birth is the time to reflect on Beethoven’s courage, a time to tell stories about his refusal to be silenced, a time to ‘Play on, play against all odds’. We’re delighted to work with our partners at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and to be implementing a range of ambitious global digital initiatives that will open fresh perspectives on the composer’s art. Beethoven will be at the heart of the Yellow Label’s programme, in recordings, online and in performance, from now until January 2021.”
The “Play on” spirit pervades Deutsche Grammophon’s digital anniversary projects and social media initiatives. As well as a brand-new website (www.beethoven-playon.com), there will be a playlist of historical Beethoven recordings made newly available as part of The Shellac Project, DG’s collaborative restoration project with Google Arts & Culture, through which digitised recordings are created from original matrices. In addition, there will be a new year-long video series from leading international music critics introducing 25 cult Beethoven albums. To bring these digital projects to life, there will also be a series of live events – from Beethoven Yellow Lounge events worldwide to a rich and illuminating BTHVN2020 programme with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Further projects and partnerships will be announced shortly.
In the lead-up to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary on 17 December 2020, Deutsche Grammophon will celebrate the composer’s musical legacy and shine a light on the works which have made him one of history’s most enduring figures. Together with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the label aims to bring together a combination of pioneering scholarship and matchless artistic achievement to showcase the composer in the digital age. Play on!