The 2014 ICMA Ceremony and Gala took place in Warsaw, during the Easter Beethoven Festival, one of the major cultural events of Central Europe. The Polish young orchestra (Sinfonia Juventus) was onstage for this very special concert; it also received a prize for their recording of the entirety of Penderecki’s Symphonies under the direction of the composer (Dux–2013 Recording of the Year for ResMusica).
The first part of the evening was devoted to chamber music, and the bar was already set very high. The Signum Quartett, who won the prize in that category, went far beyond the musical and technical demands of Erwin Schulhoff’s five pieces for string quartet. Winner of the Young Artist of the Year award in 2012, and recipient of a new award in 2014 for a Scarlatti record, the pianist Joseph Moog displayed a wide array of colors in Scarlatti and Giesenking. He was followed by Andreas Staier (Artist of the Year) for a brief yet dazzling version of Franz Schubert’s Diabelli Variations. The violinist Daniel Hope, winner of the ICMA prize for the best documentary for his contribution to the film about the musicians in the Terezin concentration camp (DGG), also paid a homage to Erwin Schulhoff by playing his Sonata for solo violin. Hope was an exceptional defender for such a piece, radically modern and folkloric at the same time.
Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, who received a prize for his entire career, opened the second part with an energetic and tumultuous rendition of Hector Berlioz’s Roman Carnival. He was as precise as usual and displayed all his passion for Berlioz. Andrea Bacchetti, an Italian pianist who offers surprising readings of Bach on keyboards, showed his great skill and touch in the Concerto in G Minor BWV 1058. French violist Adrien Boisseau, Young Artist of the Year, offered a sublime rendition of Max Bruch’s Romance for Viola and Orchestra. The orchestra was conducted in both cases by Brasilian conductor José Maria Florêncio. Krzysztof Penderecki, a legend in the Polish musical world, came to the rostrum to direct the tragical Adagio of his own Symphony No. 3. This generous evening ended with Holger Schröter-Seebeck, who stood in for François-Xavier Roth, gone to Boston to replace Danielle Gatti. The German conductor offered a lesson in style with the Adagietto of Suite No. 1 from Bizet’s Arlésienne. The entire second part of the evening was the occasion to enjoy the versatility and the commitment of the Sinfonia Juventus with a wide range of styles and directors.
During the concert, the president of the judging panel Rémy Franck announced the next ICMA galas: Ankara and the Bilkent orchestra (2015), San Sebastian (2016) and Leipzig’s Gewandhaus (2017). The appointment is arranged for March 2015 in the famous University of Bilkent, in Turkey.