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ICMA - Official Logo WINNER

ICMA create new ‘Composer Award’

To underline the importance of musical creation in today’s musical life, the International Classical Music Awards ICMA have created a Composer Award. During their General Assembly at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg, the members of the Jury decided to add a new award to the existing 22 categories. The Composer Award is to honor the work of a living composer. Jury President Rémy Franck said: « For this new award we will monitor ...
ICMA - Official Logo WINNER

The Winners of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2018

For the International Classical Music Awards 2018, the ICMA Jury has once more selected musicians and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievements. The independent and international jury has also chosen their favourites from 357 nominated audio and video releases. Jury President Rémy Franck said: "Running for eight years, ICMA has become a huge annual celebration and a widely respected benchmark for musical excellence. One of the reasons of this ...
toscanini

An Exciting Biography of Toscanini, by Harvey Sachs

Toscanini : Musician of Conscience is a fascinating tome of 923 pages (in English) devoted to Toscanini. Fascinating, because it’s often brilliant and unquestionably deserves a place among the greatest biographies in the language. Fascinating, not because it (sometimes) sets the record straight regarding certain  episodes in Arturo Toscanini’s life (not really necessary), but quite simply because Harvey Sachs, author of a Toscanini, published in 1978 and translated into French in ...
VOEUX 2018 An

Happy New Year

Les finalistes des ICMA 2018

ICMA 2018 – The finalists

In several rounds, the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has chosen the releases competing in the finals for the awards 2018. « Our list with a total of 357 nominations comprised many very good as well as outstanding recordings. Yet, the rules are way of cruel, since every member has to eliminate step by step all the releases but one », Jury President Rémy Franck said. « Obviously many excellent productions ...
Tianwa Yang_Zandel

Passionate and virtuosic : Tianwa Yang in Britten’s Violin Concerto

Yang brought a devilish and almost unhinged quality to the dancing second movement of Britten's Violin Concerto, which further highlighted her amazing virtuosity. The current Helsinki season has been almost an embarrassment of riches for lovers of Britten's Violin Concerto. Several weeks ago, Helsinki audiences were treated to Vilde Frang's arguably definitive and breathtaking account of this masterpiece with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Expectations were naturally high to hear Tianwa Yang's ...
ICMA Nomination 2018

ICMA Nomination List 2018 Is Available

ICMA Jury nominates 357 releases for the 2018 awards. The ICMA nomination list for 2018 is available. To get the list, just click on our Nominations link which will lead you to lists sorted by labels or categories. For the 2018 awards the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has nominated 357 audio and video productions (321 in 2017, 364 in 2016) from 120 labels (119 in 2017, 115 ...
Elts, Olari 06 © Marco Borggreve

The sea in many forms: the Finnish premiere of Matthew Whittall’s piano concerto

Matthew Whittall's new piano concerto, Nameless Seas, was effective in evoking not only literal but also metaphorical feelings of the sea. Respighi is best known for his ecstatically colorful symphonic portraits of Rome, which are textbook demonstrations of orchestral brilliance. Respighi's orchestration of Bach's D major Prelude and Fugue is further evidence of the Italian composer's orchestral wizardry. Particularly striking in the opening Prelude was Respighi's ability to closely mimic the colors of an organ within an orchestral soundworld; this was ...
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Irene Dalis in recital, for collectors and everyone else

This priceless CD illustrates, as if that were still necessary, and strongly underscore the consummate vocal and dramatic mastery of this great American mezzo of the 50’s and 60’s. It offers us, unfortunately, only a few limited examples and vocal fragments of a young and still developing Irene Dalis. Enhanced by long excerpts from Carmen (eight of them), sung in German, which come to us straight from Oldenburg (but can we be ...
Vilde Frang (c) Marco Borggreve

Par excellence : Vilda Frang in Britten’s Violin Concerto

Vilde Frang may have some tough competition, but she could just be the interpreter par excellence of Britten's Violin Concerto.  In the past decade or so, frequent performances and new recordings of Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto seem to be solidifying its stature as one of the truly great 20th-century violin concertos, worthy of the same attention as Sibelius and Shostakovich. Vilde Frang's breathtaking and urgent performance this evening undoubtedly earned this work many new admirers. Berlioz' Le Carnaval Romain opened the concert, ...
Ulf Wallinn

Ulf Wallin tackles Pettersson’s massive Violin Concerto No. 2

Christian Lindberg made a thoroughly convincing argument of the inherent drama of Pettersson's music while emphasizing the fact that there is ultimately a song informing the music.  Even in his native Sweden, performances of Allan Pettersson’s orchestral music are few and far between; most performances feature the composer’s generally accessible Symphony No. 7. This evening’s performance of the Violin Concerto No. 2 was the third Pettersson orchestral work (Symphony No. 5 ...
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Top class : Renée Fleming and Sakari Oramo at the Helsinki Festival

This evening's performance of Nielsen's Symphony No. 2 provided further evidence that the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra belongs in the top echelon of the world's great orchestras.  Sakari Oramo is currently Chief Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) and is well-known to Finnish audiences from his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. This evening's performance gave Oramo an opportunity to showcase the RSPO to his hometown audience; the ...
Salonen Esa-Pekka_photo by Minna Hatinen_Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Finnish premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto

At least on this first hearing, Salonen's new Cello Concerto seemed confident and uncertain at the same time. This evening's concert marked the opening of Esa-Pekka Salonen's second season as Artist-in-Association with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. It seemed only appropriate that the program literally played to all of Salonen's strengths: Ravel, Stravinsky, and of course, himself. The program began with a Ravel staple, Le Tombeau de Couperin. Immediately apparent from the opening moments was the effortless, ...
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The fascinating Michał Gondko, an accomplished lutenist

Having spent the last 18 years on the activities of the La Morra ensemble, the Polish lutenist Michał Gondko is becoming a sought-after soloist. Particularly seduced by the polyphonic art music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, he is one of the most fascinating performers of this repertoire of his generation. ResMusica met him to talk about his career, his inspirations, his projects, his dreams and even his lutes. "Sometime in ...
© Stephan Walzl

Men and Women : Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 6 in ballet form

Men and Women by Antoine Jully, chief choreographer of the Oldenburg ballet, on Allan Pettersson's Symphony n°6 expresses a wide range of emotions between the genders. Jully's reflection of the composer's expressive world is impressive.  On the very surface, there does not seem to be much subtlety in Allan Pettersson or his music. Despite the music's highly expressive and emotional landscape and the composer's own colorful statements about himself and his world, for some listeners ...
La-sonate-a-Bridgetower

Kreutzer Sonata or Bridgewater Sonata ?

The Bridgewater Sonata by Emmanuel Dongala presents a fictionalized version of the apprenticeship of the Polish virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower, to whom his friend Beethoven initially dedicated his Violin Sonata #9, only to finally dedicate the piece to Rudolph Kreutzer. Paris, page 9 A beautiful morning in 89…that is, 1789… Coming straight from Austria, "Prince of Abyssinia, Famous Negro of the Caribbean", or more precisely, of Barbados, the same person whom Tomassini ...
Kostas Smoriginas, credit Monika Penkutė

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 at Prague Spring

The Prague Philharmonic and Kühn choirs just might have stolen the show with their power, clear diction, and their ability to conjure up countless shades of color. There are certainly many approaches to putting together a program of orchestral music. Are the works selected based on a common theme or source of inspiration? From a common historical era? Or do the works greatly contrast from each other, giving the audience the ...
Sakari Oramo

Sakari Oramo in Elgar’s Symphony No. 2

Sakari Oramo did not hesitate in bringing Elgar's unabashedly passionate and emotional elements to the fore.  During his tenure as principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO), Sakari Oramo has devoted considerable attention to the music of Anders Hillborg and Edward Elgar. In this evening’s performance, Oramo took the podium in front of his former band to showcase these composers. Hillborg’s Beast Sampler refers to the composer’s description of the ...
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Broadly : Kent Nagano in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8

Nagano's performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, while abundant in individual highlights, was not quite a fully convincing interpretation of this massive work. Anton Bruckner is arguably the perfect example of a composer whose music does not simply "play itself." Bruckner's symphonies are unhurried, majestic, imposing, and, of course, fervently religious. Only an interpreter who has considered these aspects carefully can successfully transform these lengthy works from seemingly protracted to transcendent. Against this backdrop, ...
Osmo Vanska - credit Kaapo Kamu

Exploring the depths : Osmo Vänskä in Sibelius’ Symphony No. 4

Osmo Vänskä is unrivaled in his ability (and willingness) to explore the deepest depths of Sibelius' Symphony No. 4.  Osmo Vänskä earned himself and his former band (the Lahti Symphony Orchestra) international recognition with his series of Sibelius and Kalevi Aho recordings. Authoritative performances of these two composers was expected from this evening's performance, and Vänskä and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra did not disappoint. The program opened with one of the Estonian composer Arvo ...
Chouchane Siranossian, double violoniste

Chouchane Siranossian, double violonist

In 2017, French violinist Chouchane Siranossian is a double Award winner of ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), for her CD L’ange et le diable with Jos van Immerseel and as Concertmaster of Ensemble Esperanza. Rémy Franck made the following interview with her. "My roots have an influence on my playing ." ICMA : Chouchane, your family roots go back to Armenia. What does this mean for your music-making ? Chouchane Siranossian : For ...
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Tamsin Waley-Cohen, an adventurous violinist

Tamsin Waley-Cohen was the only British nominee for 2016's European Concert Hall Organisation's (ECHO) Rising Stars recital tour, which coincide with her latest disc : a CD of violin concertos by John Adams and Roy Harris with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Andrew Litton. This is the first time the Harris piece has ever been recorded. "In all the great venues that are part of ECHO, I will begin to build ...
Truls_Moerk_-546 CREDIT Johs Boe

Truls Mørk’s noble Schelomo with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Truls Mørk brought nobility to Schelomo's lamenting qualities. The current, inaugural season of Susanna Mälkki's tenure as music director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HKO) is focused considerably on 20th-century French orchestral music, which has allowed both orchestra and conductor to develop and explore the unique sound palette of this repertoire. This evening's concert continued this trend, presenting colorful works from both the 20th and 21st centuries, from France and from elsewhere. Leevi Madetoja was ...
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Damrau & Grigolo in « Les Contes d’Hoffmann » at LA Opera

For her LA debut, Diana Damrau was scheduled (announced with great fanfare) to undertake the roles of Hoffmann’s three loves. Events, however, proved otherwise…  Therefore, a great disappointment ensued, especially when the soprano who finally opted for Antonia, appeared in Act III, exceedingly present and convincing, deeply involved and persuasive. Confronted with this stunning Antonia, who takes stage completely, with that soaring, powerful voice, a voice with perfectly placed high notes, ...
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Herbert Blomstedt in Sibelius and Beethoven

This was undoubtedly one of the great performances of Sibelius' Symphony No. 4. Herbert Blomstedt is approaching his 90th birthday and is showing no signs of slowing down. A quick look at his busy conducting schedule shows a deep commitment to the Austro-Germanic and Scandinavian repertoire, so expectations were naturally high in this evening's program of Sibelius and Beethoven. The program opened with the darkly introverted Symphony No. 4 by Sibelius. Based on this evening's account, ...
01.04.2017, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Mendelssohnsaal. ICMA Gala, Gruppenfoto © Gert Mothes

An Outstanding Event – ICMA Award Ceremony and Gala Concert at Leipzig’s Gewandhaus

Ten soloists, one chamber orchestra, one choir and a big symphony orchestra, plus the presence of nearly all the musicians winning the 2017 International Classical Music Awards. In his opening speech, the president of the ICMA jury, Rémy Franck enthusiastically said: « Since the first edition of our awards in 2011, we never were able to welcome so many guests at an award ceremony as here in Leipzig! » And ...
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Everything in clear focus: Christian Lindberg in Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 14

This new release in the series of Allan Pettersson's symphonies by Christian Lindberg impresses once again by fanatical fidelity to the score and obsessive attention to detail. Slowly but surely, Christian Lindberg and the extraordinarily dedicated Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) are nearing the finish line of one of the great 20th century symphony cycles: the complete symphonies of Allan Pettersson. While the music of Pettersson is unquestionably demanding on performers and listeners alike, ...
Les ICMA annoncent l’événement classique de l’année

ICMA Announce Classic Event of the Year

Leipzig’s Gewandhaus will host on 1 April an outstanding classic event: ICMA's Gala Concert and Award Ceremony. For the first time in Germany, the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA), the only international Music Awards, will present at 8:00 pm an exceptional Gala concert with the Gewandhausorchester and conductor Francesco Angelico, Ensemble Esperanza, MDR Rundfunkchor and soloists Elena Bashkirova, Sharon Bezaly, Julia Fischer, Sophie Pacini, Elsa Dreisig, Chouchane Siranossian, Caroline Widmann, Tabea ...
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Details and the big picture: Christian Lindberg in Pettersson’s Symphony No. 5

In Petterson’s Symphony No. 5, Lindberg shaped and controlled the latent tension so effectively that the music felt deeply oppressive, almost suffocating in its intensity. Patience is definitely a virtue with regards to the Allan Pettersson symphony project on the record label BIS. This project began in the early 1990s with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (SON) under the direction of Leif Segerstam but was left incomplete. Following a long hiatus, the ...
Bahr-ICMA

Robert von Bahr : The Man With The Pram … And 2.300 Recordings

The Swedish label BIS is Label of the Year of the International Classical Music Awards. Known for the quality of sound and music, for a substantial catalogue of more than 2.300 titles and some exciting projects, the label is a strong player on the international market. Rémy Franck made the following interview with the label’s CEO Robert von Bahr. ICMA : Robert, what was the starting point for your business? Robert von Bahr ...
 

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