The German Record Critics' Award has bestowed a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on American violinist Itzhak Perlman in this year's accolades.
The German Record Critics' Award ("Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik") was established in 1980 to set the "most rigorous standards for supreme achievement and quality" in the field of music recording. The German Record Critics' Award Association consists of some 156 music critics, writers, musicologists and editors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The Awards Committee praised the American violinist, who turned 70 last year, for his decades as a "brilliant virtuoso, recital partner and chamber musician, as a master of the Romantic miniature and not least as a passionate pedagogue.
"Perlman opened the hearts of many listeners to the world of the violin through concerts and recordings, many of the latter becoming 'classics'. Despite his handicap, he has built up a grandiose international career, he motivates and encourages people - often with a wicked sense of humour!
"Perlman believes in the power of music as an international language, his art has always been a message and an appeal to humanity."
Warner Classics celebrated Perlman's recorded legacy in his 70th year with the 2015 boxed set of his Complete Warner Recordings.
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett was also among the 2016 German Record Critics' Award recipients. Sadly, the Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt passed away in March this year before he could receive his prize, which now becomes a posthumous tribute. "With his unconventional range of repertoire, but also with his extraordinary wit and his courageous attitude, Harnoncourt was epoch-making," stated the jurors of the German Record Critics' Award.
Some months after accepting the Genesis Prize presented by the Israeli president in Jerusalem this year, violinist Itzhak Perlman has confirmed that he will generously donate the $US 1 million prize money to Israeli music and disability charities.
The Genesis Prize honours individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen fields – and who have inspired others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and State of Israel.
The organisations Perlman has chosen include the Tel Aviv Conservatory to establish a Perlman-Genesis String Project, and a rehabilitation centre in Herzliya, Israel, for children and adults with disabilities.
"What I will cherish even more [than the Prize itself] is the opportunity you have given me to make a meaningful difference in the life of others," said Perlman. "I'm humbled and honoured to receive this award."
Last year, Warner Classics marked the legendary violinist's 70th birthday with a boxed set of his complete Warner recordings - some 59 albums made over 30 years.
This month sees the long-awaited release of a new album recorded with another living legend - Schumann, Bach and Brahms with pianist Martha Argerich.
Classic FM has published its guide to the 25 Greatest Violinists of All Time, from Vivaldi to the legendary recording artists of the early 20th century, and today's stars.
The list would have been unthinkable without Yehudi Menuhin, one of the most prolific and beloved violinists of the recording age, whose centenary we celebrate in 2016 with The Menuhin Century edition, the most comprehensive collection documenting his 70-year recording legacy with EMI Classics (now Warner Classics), including milestone recordings of Elgar's Violin Concerto with the composer himself conducting the teenage violinist; the premiere of the Sonata for Solo Violin written for Menuhin by Bartók, the pioneering West Meets East album with Ravi Shankar, and unforgettable moments in history such as the Marseillaise performed at the Opéra de Paris after the liberation of Paris in 1944.
Thirty years Menuhin's junior, Israeli-American living legend Itzhak Perlman now proudly plays the 'Soil' Stradivarius formerly owned by Menuhin. Perlman celebrated his 70th birthday in August 2015, with a handsome 77-CD boxed set of his Complete Warner Classics Recordings, featuring collaborators as distinguished as André Previn, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Martha Argerich, Yo-Yo Ma and more.
Also included in the world's Top 25 Violinists is British virtuoso Nigel Kennedy, a pupil at the Menuhin School who recorded the famed Vivaldi Four Seasons that has held the Guinness World Record for best-selling classical album of all time.
See the full list of Classic FM's Top 25 Violinists of All Time here.
Israeli-born Itzhak Perlman, one of greatest violinists of the 20th century, has accepted the 2016 Genesis Prize at a ceremony at the Jerusalem Theatre in Israel on 23 June. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the award at the gala event hosted by British actress Helen Mirren. The Prime Minister praised Perlman as a man and musician who embodies "excellence of the spirit...a teacher and role model to millions."
Perlman is "an advocate to those whose bodies are disabled but whose spirits never are," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "Your music exemplifies the profound human drive for creativity and beauty that gives meaning to our lives."
Warner Classics marked Itzhak Perlman's 70th birthday last year with a boxed set of his complete recordings made for EMI and Teldec over more than 30 years, totalling some 59 albums.
Itzhak Perlman's next album teams the great violinist with another living legend: pianist Martha Argerich.
Thank you for the great experience of making music together. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to play with you. Your great artistry was my 70th birthday present. But since now you are celebrating yours, may I wish you a very very happy and healthy birthday and many happy returns.
See you soon,
My dearest Martula,
Meeting you has had a huge impact in my life – a personal, emotional and musical impact.
I was so immensely lucky to meet you – this great, fiery pianist; this living legend, this goddess of music and above all this extraordinary woman – free-spirited, passionate, curious and sensitive.
I was so excited to play with you for the first time – the Mendelssohn Piano Trio – and yet at the same time blown away, even intimidated; this young cellist fresh out of the Conservatoire suddenly face to face with a classical music giant. I will never forget the kindness with which you looked at me, and the trust you placed in me. You led me by the hand on stage with infectious energy and tenderness.
Everything I’ve experienced on stage with you and in life is invaluable. The first wild years at Lugano, the frenzy around the Gulda homage in Japan, the Beethoven Triple Concerto...
Today I’d like to tell you, once again, MERCI.
Thank you for who you are.
Thank you for your sincerity and fidelity.
Thank you for all the love you give your fellow musicians and friends.
Martha Argerich has in many ways been my teacher because I have conducted my debuts with her of the Schumann Piano Concerto, the Liszt E-Flat, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky No.1 and Beethoven No.1. Needless to say, once you have performed these concertos with her, it is almost impossible to imagine them played another way, such is her originality, fire, and sophistication.
May she continue to wow us all with her bewitching yet oh-so-natural way with music, and to continue offering her enormous wisdom to the younger generation of musicians...And to those of us who are not so young! -Sir Antonio Pappano
Since I listened to her playing for the very first time I immediately fell in love with her incomparable way of making music. The way she preformed evoked emotions in me that I had never felt before. I was so overwhelmed by her great naturalness, her unfailing musical instinct and her incredible virtuosity and strength that it became one of my biggest dreams to meet her in person some day and maybe even to be able to play for her.
After a couple of years, in 2010, this dream actually came true thanks to a great coincidence: at a small summer festival in Italy my great idol actually let me play for her in her practice room. Everything changed for me. From that day on Martha Argerich became my musical mentor, supported me generously and, above all, a close personal friendship started to grow between us.
Whenever she comes to visit me in Munich now and we sit together to talk and joke about music and life, these are the most inspiring and beautiful hours for me.
I am unbelievably thankful and happy to have her, for me she is the one and only; she is my 'piano mama'!
Thank you, Martula, for existing and for enriching our lives with your wonderful art. All the very best for your birthday from the bottom of my heart! Tantissimi auguroni!
Martha was always was my idol from childhood, and I still remember the moment I met her in Milan for the first time.
Since then I feel in love not only in her playing which is beyond any imagination, but also immense admiration for her warm, motherly and caring personality.
Sometimes I feel guilty that she does care for me so much and I have nothing to offer her...And I have to confess that getting to know her is the best thing ever happened in my life.
Happy birthday, Martha! I love you so much!
If I think to Martha Argerich one word comes immediately to my mind: immortality. Immortality because, with her overwhelming energy, she has been able to stop time and write incredible pages in the history of pianism. Best wishes, Martha! -Beatrice Rana
"I first played for Yehudi Menuhin at the age of 11 during his visit to Israel. Throughout my career, I was lucky enough to know him as a colleague and a friend. I am honoured to be able to play his beloved 'Soil' Stradivarius every day. His legacy will remain both as the quintessential wunderkind and great artist."
In a rare meeting of musical minds in Paris last month, Itzhak Perlman and Martha Argerich found the time in their demanding schedules to record a new album, to be released late 2016 on Warner Classics.
It has been 18 years since their last album together: a live recital from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. On that momentous occasion in 1998, the pair performed three of the 19th century’s most ambitious and enthralling works for violin and piano – Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, the Franck Violin Sonata and Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1. The first two sonatas were released in 1999 by EMI Classics (now Warner Classics) in what was the pair’s only recording together until now.
The Schumann Violin Sonata will at long last be released alongside the new recordings from the Paris sessions, making the forthcoming album a fascinating ‘then and now’ portrait of how two living legends have evolved musically.
In addition to the 1998 recording, this milestone collaboration between Argerich and Perlman sees the duo explore three masterpieces from the Baroque to the Romantic in intimate chamber recital: Bach’s Violin Sonata No.4 in C Minor, BWV 1017 (with its famous Siciliano), Schumann’s impassioned Fantasiestücke Op 73, and Brahms’s Scherzo from the Sonatensatz in C minor (the ‘F.A.E. Sonata’), dedicated to the great violinist Joseph Joachim.
“Martha is the most amazing pianist,” says Perlman of his recital partner. “It’s always been my dream to make music with her… We thought of completing that recording from 1998 by making another record almost 20 years later.
“Working with Martha was a unique experience for me …Her brilliance and the colours she uses when she plays are recognisable as soon as you hear them – it’s her; nobody else sounds like that… I am so excited that we were actually able to record together again… When this possibility came along that she might be able to have a couple of days free to record I said, ‘I’ll go any place!’”
Martha Argerich added: “I feel so stimulated to play with Itzhak, it’s really a feast – fantastic! It’s a very special relationship, I am completely enchanted.”
Jean-Philippe Roland, EVP of Artists & Repertoire at Warner Classics, said: "I don’t want to sound over the top, but only a comparison of astronomic magnitude can properly depict the musical reunion of these two living legends."
Both artists have maintained a longstanding relationship with Warner Classics. The label celebrated Itzhak Perlman’s 70th birthday in 2015 with the release of his complete Warner Classics recordings in a lavish 77-CD edition. Martha Argerich, who turns 75 in June 2016, continues to release an annual chamber music collection live from the Lugano Festival as part of the Martha Argerich & Friends project. Her birthday will be marked with a major boxed set project this year, along with the first release on vinyl of her legendary 1965 Chopin album.
These are two of the most sought-after chamber musicians of their generation. Perlman has recorded with the likes of Daniel Barenboim, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Emanuel Ax at the piano; Argerich with Gidon Kremer, Ivry Gitlis, Vadim Repin and Renaud Capuçon on violin.
Itzhak Perlman and Martha Argerich’s new album of Bach, Schumann and Brahms will be released late 2016.
At his sold-out Paris concert this week, playing the Philharmonie de Paris for the first time, three charming encores in, Itzhak Perlman announced from the stage: "I'd like to dedicate this to my friend Yehudi Menuhin, who would have been one hundred this month.
Perlman explained to the enchanted audience that he plays on the 'Soil' Stradivarius violin that was once treasured by Menuhin himself, thirty years Perlman's senior. "
"I feel this togetherness, and I feel very fortunate," he said.
Perlman played Brahms' Hungarian Dance No.1, alluding to Menuhin's love of gypsy music.
Last year, Warner Classics marked Itzhak Perlman's 70th birthday with a complete boxed set of his recordings for the label. This month, with the centenary of Menuhin's birth falling on 22 April, Warner Classics has released The Menuhin Century edition, drawing together remastered and never-before-released recordings and rarities from that great violinist's 70-year relationship with his label.
The Genesis Prize Foundation today announced that world-renowned violinist and Warner Classics recording artist, Itzhak Perlman, has been selected as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate. The Genesis Prize is a $1 million annual award given to individuals who have achieved extraordinary professional success, have made a significant contribution to humanity, and inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community.
“I am humbled and honoured to receive the Genesis Prize, recognising not just my professional achievements and my desire to improve the world, but also my commitment to my Jewish identity, Jewish values, and Jewish culture,” said Itzhak Perlman. “I have always been very proud of my Jewish heritage, which has greatly influenced my music, my world view, and my work as an advocate for individuals whom society often leaves behind.”
"Itzhak is a true citizen of the world," said Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access industries, which owns Warner Music Group. "He has not only moved millions of listeners with his transcendent music, but he has changed countless lives through his passionate commitment to the Jewish community, to those in need across the globe, and to young musical talent. This is a richly deserved recognition of an extraordinary artist and an exceptional human being."
“As a musician, as well as a community leader, we’re incredibly proud of everything Itzhak has accomplished,” said Alain Lanceron, President, Warner Classics. “I speak for the entire Warner Classics team when I say it is a privilege to work alongside such an esteemed individual. Congratulations, Itzhak.”
The announcement of his Genesis Prize award comes on the heels of Itzhak Perlman’s receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 25. Two other US presidents – Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton – have previously recognised Perlman by awarding him the Medal of Liberty and the National Medal of Arts, in 1986 and 2000 respectively. Perlman has also won multiple Grammy Awards for this musicianship, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. To view Itzhak Perlman’s full biography, visit the Genesis Prize website.
Warner Classics marked Itzhak Perlman's 70th birthday this year with a boxed set of his complete recordings made for EMI and Teldec over more than 30 years, totalling some 59 albums. Among these critically acclaimed discs is the 1996 classic Klezmer and Tradition, in which Perlman explores his Jewish musical heritage with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and bands including The Klezmatics and The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra. Perlman's parents were from Poland and in these albums he explores the secular music of Eastern Europe's Jews, and the American evolution of traditional klezmer in jazz.
The inaugural Genesis Prize was awarded in 2014 to New York Mayor and one of the world’s leading philanthropists, Michael Bloomberg. Academy-award winning actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas received this prestigious award in 2015. The Genesis Prize — endowed by the Genesis Prize Foundation and awarded annually by the Prime Minister of Israel — was established by a unique partnership among the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Genesis Prize Foundation, and the Office of the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The Laureate of the Genesis Prize is selected from a list of candidates nominated by leaders of hundreds of institutions and organisations worldwide, including leading universities, major foundations, Fortune 500 corporations, international NGO's and top Jewish organisations. Upon receipt of the nominations for the Prize, the Selection Committee, headed by the Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel (currently Natan Sharansky), selects a short list of candidates and the Prize Committee, headed by Knesset Speaker (currently Yuli Edelstein), selects the Laureate.
Itzhak Perlman intends to direct the prize money to initiatives about which he is passionate, including improving access for individuals with disabilities and developing young musicians of rare and special talent. Further details of Perlman’s plans for directing the Genesis Prize award will be revealed in February.
"Classical listening delights, wrapped in gift boxes": Chicago Tribune has selected the 77-CD Itzhak Perlman Complete Warner Recordings collection for its annual gift guide as one of only three "highly recommended classical boxed sets for gift-givers and receivers this holiday season".
"One of the great violinists of our time gets a lavish 70th birthday toast with this comprehensive collection, which gathers remastered pressings of all 59 albums Perlman recorded for EMI and Teldec over more than 30 years.
"Each disc gets its own booklet and cardboard sleeve, with the original cover art, and all are housed in a sturdy 'browser' box. Perlman's recordings have stood the test of time very well, and several remain benchmark interpretations. A 100-page hardback book includes an interview, tributes, photos and discography."
The MDT editorial team has added its seal of approval, too, pointing out that "no other label is in a position to assemble such a comprehensive, multi-faceted Perlman tribute. The recordings see the star violinist collaborating with an array of superlative musicians, including Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn and Pinchas Zukerman."
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