Today the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced the winners of 26 awards for the 2023 edition. Jury President Remy Franck says: « Firmly established as the unrivalled badges of excellence for the classical music sector, the ICMA awards were selected from a nomination list comprising 391 productions and a wide range of artists and labels. The winner list comprises many renowned as well as lesser-known and young musicians and no less than 14 labels! We are proud and excited to launch the new ICMA Classeek Award which is organized in collaboration with the successful digital platform Classeek and to continue our long lasting cooperation with the International Music Academy Liechtenstein, so that together with the Young Artist Award, we are able to promote three young and highly promising talents. And since one of our missions is to champion the musical talent of youth we are thrilled that in our Chamber music section two 20-year-old musicians, Tassilo Probst and Maxim Lando, won the award in one of the most competitive categories. The ICMA jury, international and independent, supports musical excellence and scrutinizes the global music industry to ultimately find the best of the best, thus getting the opportunity to show musicians’ talent and interpretive skills worldwide. Almost 300.000 music lovers have streamed the ICMA Gala concert with winners from the 2022 panel. And now we look forward to our Gala in Wroclaw which will was for sure be an exciting evening filled with memorable appearances and wonderful music. »

The cellist David Geringas wins the Lifetime Achievement Award; soprano Ermonela Jaho is Artist of the Year. Saò Soulez-Larivière is Young Artist of the Year and 15-year-old violinist Leonhard Baumgartner is the winner of the Discovery Award. David Philip Hefti wins the Composer Award. Naxos is Label of the Year. The Orchestra Award goes to organist Karol Mossakowski, designated by the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic . The new ICMA-Classeek Award goes to double bass player Marc-André Teruel. Special Achievement Awards are granted to the National Forum of Music Wroclaw and pianist Alessandro Marangoni. In the audio and video categories, 16 productions have been awarded.

The winners receive the ICMA trophies during the annual Award Ceremony that will take place at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland, on 21 April. This evening will also include a Gala Concert with the participation of a number of the winners and the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic conducted by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero.

Here is the list with the ICMA winners of the year 2022, as established by the Jury comprising the jury members from the following media: ANDANTE (Turkey) – CRESCENDO (Belgium) – DAS ORCHESTER (Germany) – DEUTSCHE WELLE (Germany) – IMZ (Austria) – MUSICAL LIFE (Russia) – MDR KLASSIK (Germany) – MUSICA (Italy) – MUSIK & THEATER (Switzerland) – OPERA (UK) – PAPAGENO (Hungary) – PIZZICATO (Luxembourg) – POLSKIE RADIO CHOPIN (Poland ) – RADIO 100,7 (Luxembourg) – RADIO ROMANIA MUZICAL (Romania) – RESMUSICA (France) – RONDO CLASSIC (Finland) – SCHERZO (Spain) – UNISON (Croatia)

David Geringas, cello
A life devoted to music, in the purest sense of professionalism and dedication. Cellist, teacher and founder of an orchestra for young talents, David Geringas was always a veritable bridge between Eastern and Western traditions of high-class cello playing. Many of today’s top cellists have studied with him. Many contemporary compositions where written for him. A passionate musician and a brilliant mind, David Geringas is an example of what the music world really needs in the difficult times we live in.

Ermonela Jaho, soprano
With the unique beauty of her glorious, securely led and magnificently shimmering voice, Ermonela Jaho fascinates with her pure vocal aesthetics. But this is only one side of the singer’s great art, the other being her electrifying theatrical presence. Few singers achieve such a high degree of identification with their roles, such a total veracity and deeply moving emotion. Once on the stage, Ermonela Jaho throws off her own personality like a cloak and fully embodies the character she has to interpret

Saò Soulez-Larivière, viola
The young French-Dutch violist Saò Soulez Larivière is already an accomplished and mature musician. With flawless technique, a remarkably pure and slender sound and a fascinating interpretative imagination he has a magical charisma. In a broad repertoire his playing is always inspired, spontaneous, varied in its colours and dynamics and on a remarkable emotional level.

Leonhard Baumgartner, violin
Born in 2007, the Austrian violinist Leonhard Baumgartner is a prizewinner of several renowned competitions. He has shown his superb technical skills as soloist as well as a committed chamber musician in various formations, from duo to quintet. But above all, this scholarship holder of the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein captivates his audiences with a deep joy of playing and sharing music with all those who listen.

From the year it was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, Naxos has been one of the most energetic and ground-breaking record companies of the global classical music world. With its budget recordings, Naxos has been very influential in promoting the art of classical music and the habit of collecting records to the masses in even remote parts of the world. Today Naxos owes its reputation to the wealth of its immense catalogue which includes many recordings of some of the most important names in the classical music industry, its huge Naxos Audio Library and network of distribution.

David Philip Hefti
David Philip Hefti’s tonal language captivates with an enormously wide spectrum of expressive means. Luminous timbres and dramatic constructions are as much a part of it as subtle and fragile sonic developments. The spectrum of genres in which the composer expresses himself is also wide, with the result that his music reaches performers as well as a broad audience.

Marc-André Teruel, double bass
The Austro-French double bass player Marc-André Teruel is determined to give his instrument a new role, to make it a fully-fledged solo instrument. With a unique technique he produces the most exquisite and elegant sound on the double bass. Driven by a missionary passion and adding to all this his wonderful musicality, he is able to push new boundaries and is of course completely at ease with his double bass in concertos as well as in chamber music.

Karol Mossakowski, organ
As titular organist of the Cathedral in Lille, France, and professor of improvisation, the Polish organist Karol Mossakowski is renowned for both his interpretation and improvisation skills. He won numerous prizes and proved his extraordinary musicality as artist in residence at Radio France and at NOSPR in Katowice. Being one of the most promising artists among the rising figures of the young organ school, his performances have been hailed in the most laudatory terms not only for their great virtuosity but also for the finesse and the rich colours of his deeply musical playing.

NFM – National Forum of Music, Wrocław
To cut a long story short, it’s enough to talk about numbers. The National Forum of Music is four virtually independent venues in one building, eleven ensembles, including a string trio, three quartets, two chamber orchestras, three different choirs, two period instruments ensembles and a symphony orchestra. It’s also eight festivals, starting with the unique Wratislavia Cantans festival. Having always been a city with musical ambitions, but as recently as ten years ago still practically without the tools to achieve them, thanks to the NFM, Wrocław is now a model for other places – if they only can obtain similar resources and, what’s the most important, similar goals.

Alessandro Marangoni, piano
Rossini’s Péchés de vieillesse are not an organic collection, but a fascinating, bottomless well of musical miracles written in old age by an ironic, sly, rather depressed and nevertheless brilliant composer. For the first time, thanks to the Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni, we have a complete recording of this true musical monument: a feat that is the result of many years of research and a passion that has few equals.

El Collar de la Paloma
Ibn Hazm of Cordoba
Capella de Ministrers, Carlos Magraner
Capella de Ministrers
CdM 2253
In their indefatigable search for forgotten repertoires, Carles Magraner and his Capella de Ministrers turn to Andalusian music, specifically to the Cordovan polymath Ibn Hazm, who a thousand years ago wielded the splendid Neoplatonic treatise that can be heard on this CD. El collar de la paloma (The necklace of the dove) alternates moments of pure improvisation with dance movements — the ones that sustain the musical framework of this programme in which the nay flute, the kanun or the rebec are always allowed to play freely.

Bach: Italian Concerto – French Overture
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Mahan Esfahani, the indefatigable missionary of the harpsichord, has added another brilliant recording to his ever-growing discography. His recording journey has been a never ending quest for fresh insights into old baroque works (as well, of course, as modern ones) and for exploring the different colors of his instrument. This recording pays homage to one of the greatest masters of the harpsichord in music history, Johann Sebastian Bach. Esfahani brings his habitual attentive playing to the Italian Concerto, French Overture and last but not least the wonderfully melodious Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo.

Handel: Semele
Ana Maria Labin, Lawrence Zazzo
Millenium Orchestra
Leonardo Garcia Alarcón
This recording of Handel’s Semele under the conducting of Leonardo García Alarcón is an exceptional success and an interpretative triumph. It was made on the stage of the Grand Manège in Namur, a new concert hall in Wallonia, with an outstanding international cast, the Choeur de Chambre de Namur and the Millenium Orchestra.

Rachmaninov: Melodies
Asmik Grigorian, soprano
Lukas Geniusas, piano
Asmik Grigorian and Lukas Geniusas shape concentrated and nuanced gems from Rachmaninov’s romances. Slavic emotional expression never boils over but remains precisely at the service of the music. Grigorian’s instrumental soprano conveys the feelings of loneliness, pain and ecstasy in an intense way and delicately emphasizes the meanings of the poem. Geniusas finds all the colours and moods of the piano textures, ranging from lyrical nature painting to psychological drama.

Rossini: Messa di Gloria
Eleonora Buratto, Teresa Iervolino, Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres
Carlo Lepore
Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Antonio Pappano
Warner Classics
An inspired Antonio Pappano and the superb choral and orchestral forces of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia give radiant operatic character to Rossini’s Messa di Gloria. Outstandingly brilliant soloists and a well-balanced sound recording give this masterpiece the finishing touch.

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Julian Behr, Vannina Santoni, Alexandre Duhamel, Marie-Ange Todorovitch
Jean Teitgen, Hadrien Joubert
Chœur de l’Opéra de Lille, Les Siècles
François-Xavier Roth
Harmonia Mundi
François-Xavier Roth’s conducting brings new magic into Debussy’s music. He conducts it more dramatically than many other conductors, and thus drives the action ceaselessly forward. The period instruments of Les Siècles provide wonderful colours, perfect clarity and the greatest possible transparency. This gives the score a special note of poetry without lacking the dramatic plot of the story which even is increased. Vannina Santoni’s Mélisande is full of vitality, Julien Behr sings a youthful, love-driven Pelléas, and Alexandre Duhamel does a fine job of characterizing the shady figure of Golaud in a confident voice.

Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Josu de Solaun, piano
Josu de Solaun is one of the most impressive discoveries of the past decade. Not only is this pianist technically impressive, but his interpretative imagination also knows no limits. These readings ideally reflect de Solaun’s ability to engage with works symbiotically and on the highest energy levels. Free of aesthetic dogma, the pianist creates here a cosmos of a solitary nature.

Into Madness
Bartok – Enescu – Achron
Tassilo Probst, violin
Maxim Lando, piano
Berlin Classics
With their first album German violinist Tassilo Probst and American pianist Maxim Lando play themselves right into the first league. Probst and Lando prove to be equal, technically superior partners whose real strength lies in their rhetoric. Their interpretations are outstandingly expressive, spontaneous, and bring seldom-heard meaningfulness to the works on this CD. Probst and Lando cross-fertilize each other’s inspiration and achieve stunning performances guaranteed to raise the listener’s pulse.

Beethoven & Stravinsky: Violin Concertos
Vilde Frang, violin
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Pekka Kuusisto
Warner Classics
Vilde Frang and Pekka Kuusisto’s new recording combines the best values of traditional interpretation and contemporary musicianship. It is a unique marriage of delving into the content of the music to discover its complex structure and the logic that governs it. This discovery is presented with energy and precision, impressively highlighting the works’ textures and its dynamic richness. Subtlety is taken to an extreme, where sometimes the traditional beauty of sound no longer matters – but it’s always impressive for its conviction and consistency. The declamatory style narrates both Beethoven’s late-classical sonic monument and Stravinsky’s neoclassical structures with fascinating freshness. One of the highest achievements of modern style in violin playing and conducting.

Rott: Symphony No. 1 – Mahler: Blumine – Bruckner: Symphonic Prelude
Bamberger Symphoniker
Jakub Hrusa
Deutsche Grammophon
In his very short life, Hans Rott wrote only one symphony – and was nearly forgotten after his death in 1884. Jakub Hrusa and the Bamberger Symphoniker didn’t exactly rediscover Rott’s symphony in E major – others recorded it before – but their interpretation is so convincing that we can say that no one else has advocated Rott’s music as profoundly as the performers on this recording. Works by Bruckner and Mahler, who both admired Rott’s work, complete this superb CD.

Holliger: Lunea
Christian Gerhaher, Juliane Banse, Ivan Ludlow
Sarah Maria Sun, Annette Schönmüller
Philharmonia Zürich, Basler Madrigalisten
Heinz Holliger
Genius and madness – a theme that has always fascinated Heinz Holliger. A song cycle with diary notes by the poet Nikolaus Lenau was created for the baritone Christian Gerhaher. The composer expanded this into the opera Lunea. The result is a work full of playful creativity, coupled with a great sense for the most subtle tonal colours. This exemplary recording was made during the premiere at Opernhaus Zürich.

Salonen: Cello Concerto – Ravel: Duo Sonata
Nicolas Altstaedt, cello
Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Dima Slobodeniouk
What Nicolas Altstaedt and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk draw from Esa-Pekka Salonen’s multi-layered Cello Concerto is fascinating – an exciting expedition into a colourful cosmos of sound. The addition of Ravel’s Duo Sonata for violin and cello may come as a surprise, but is gripping in the unconventionally approached dialogue between the two instruments.

Haydn: Symphony No. 99 – Schönberg: Piano Concerto op. 42
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
John Ogdon, piano
New Philharmonia Orchestra, Rafael Kubelík
There are recordings that tell stories. And these stories resound anew in every new epoch. On the night of August 20-21, 1968, Soviet tanks rolled across the streets of Prague, ending the Prague Spring. Only a few days later, the Czech Rafael Kubelík, conducted a concert with the New Philharmonia Orchestra in Lucerne. Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 is sparkling with vitality and perfection, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 is marked by a deep, tragic sense of the inevitability of fate. John Ogdon superbly contributes Schönberg’s Piano Concerto. This historic recording is released while Russian tanks are rolling again, and one hears these sounds of all-embracing, defiant and comforting persuasiveness with different ears…

Conrado del Campo: String Quartets Nos. 3 & 5
Quatuor Diotima
The Quatour Diotima provides sensational readings of two of the fifteen string quartets written by Conrado del Campo, a key composer in 20th century Spanish music, unjustly neglected since his death in 1953. This important premiere recording is the beginning of an exciting integral cycle, championed by the young Spanish label MarchVivo, which belongs to the prestigious Fundación Juan March, one of Spain’s leading cultural and musical centres.

Hans Abrahamsen: The Snow Queen
Barbara Hannigan, Rachael Wilson, Katarina Dalayman, Peter Rose
Caroline Wettergreen, Dean Power, Kevin Conners, Owen Willets
Orchestra & Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
Cornelius Meister
Andreas Kriegenburg
Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings
The winter music of Hans Abrahamsen finds in the tale of Hans Christian Andersen the appropriate framework for a writing torn between complexity and simplicity. The role of Gerda is brightly and intensely interpreted by Barbara Hannigan, the singer being doubled by an actress, a child, and even a doll! Kay, male role, is sung by a mezzo, Rachael Wilson, vibrant in her commitment. The orchestra, conducted with great inspiration by Cornelius Meister, allows us to hear the icy sound of music with an elusive character, while the filming of Christoph Engel shows us the very beautiful scenography of Harald B. Thor.

Bach – Borodin – Morricone – Pärt – Puccini – Villa-Lobos
Manon Galy, violin
Ensemble K – Sequenza 9.3
Simone Menezes
Paul Smaczny
Accentus Music
The music documentary Metanoia sets new standards in terms of content and form. Alongside original musical selections, a trip to Italy and prominent interlocutors, the protagonists explore basic philosophical aspects of music and music reception. By linking the subject with other disciplines such as visual arts, sociology, architecture, dance or technology, they generate new ways of thinking around the topic.

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