2021 International Classical Music Awards Announced

The International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) 2021 have been announced with a number of Askonas Holt artists receiving prizes for audio and video releases.

Pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout received the Assorted Programs award for his latest release on Harmonia Mundi featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. The jury remarked:

“… Kristian Bezuidenhout brings joy, finesse and lyricism to this often-recorded piece of Beethoven, and his interpretation is so fresh and sounds so authentic that one can’t help feeling that the listener is being beamed up to the Vienna of Beethoven’s era…”

Kristian’s rich and award-winning discography on Harmonia Mundi includes his previous recordings of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 2 & 5 also with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra which was nominated as Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in October 2020.

Kristian Bezuidenhout
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Coriolan Overture,
The Creatures of Prometheus Overture
Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado
Harmonia Mundi
HMM 902413

See album here.

Conductor Louis Langrée received the joint Video Performance award for Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées on Naxos Records which also previously received a Diapason d’Or Award (February 2020), a nomination at the International Opera Awards 2020 and was Gramophone Magazines DVD/Blu-ray of the Month in April 2020. The jury said:

“…the French composer’s music returns to the stage with a production of his masterpiece, Hamlet, which fascinated the audience thanks to Louis Langrée’s sensitive conducting, Cyril Teste’s intelligently modern direction and, above all, the magnificent singing and theatrical intensity of Stéphane Degout and Sabine Devieilhe: a real redemption for poor Ambroise Thomas!…”

 Louis’ other recordings include again with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and also with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (of which he has been Music Director since 2013) for discs featuring Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait (narrated by Dr Maya Angelou) and world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, David Lang, Nico Muhly and Zhou Tian (which was nominated for a Grammy Award). His recordings have received several awards from Gramophone and Midem Classical.

Thomas: Hamlet
Stéphane Degout, Sabine Devieilhe, Laurent Alvaro, Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo, Nicolas Legoux, Julien Behr, Jérôme Varnier, Yoann Dubruque, Kevin Amiel
Chœur Les Eléments, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées,
Louis Langrée, conductor
Cyril Teste, stage director
Naxos 2.11064 & NBD0103V

See DVD here.

Thomas Adès CBE received the contemporary music award for his composition In Seven Days: Concerto for Piano with Moving Image with Kirill Gerstein having previously received other awards including The New York Times 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2020. The jury said:

“It has long been known: in these difficult times for the art of composition, Thomas Adès has found his own, eclectic language, creating music that is both attractive in sound and full of meaning. This programme combines the different aspects of his creative nature, evoking Schubert and tango, the salon elegance of mazurkas (though translated into a contemporary language), and the flickering of stars. This unusual set, enriched by the brilliant pianist Kirill Gerstein and musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, is a most glamorous showcase for the work of this English composer and of contemporary music in general.

Thomas Adès: Powder Her Face, Berceuse, Mazurkas, In Seven Days
Kirill Gerstein, Tanglewood Music Centre Orchestra, Thomas Adès


See album here.

The ICMA Awards was established in 2011 and the jury consisted of music critics from magazines including Andante, Crescendo, das Orchester, Deutsche Welle, Gramofon, MDR Klassik, Musica, Musical Life, Musik & Theater, Opera and Orpheus Radio Pizzicato amongst others.

The complete list of the 2021 ICMA Awards can be viewed here.


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