This year’s ECHO KLASSIK in the category “Lifetime Achievement” will be awarded to Alfred Brendel. The Austrian pianist will be honoured as one of the most important artists of his generation by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, which acts as the cultural arm of Germany's Federal Music Industry Association (Bundesverband Musikindustrie, BVMI). Brendel’s seminal interpretations of pieces from the Classical-Romantic era are considered to have had a lasting stylistic influence on countless young artists since the 1950s. To name just one example, Brendel was the first pianist to record Beethoven’s entire piano oeuvre. These and many other recordings form part of the box set "Complete Philips Recordings”, encompassing 114 disks, released on the occasion of his 85th birthday. Brendel will be on hand in person on Sunday, the 9th of October 2016 to receive his ECHO KLASSIK Lifetime Achievement Award at the gala ceremony held in the Konzerthaus Berlin. The German public TV channel ZDF will broadcast the ECHO KLASSIK awards ceremony hosted by leading German personality Thomas Gottschalk on 9th October starting at 10 pm. For an overview of all award winners, please visit www.echoklassik.de/en.
“Alfred Brendel is already a legend in his lifetime”, explains BVMI Board Chairman Prof. Dieter Gorny. “There are many reasons why he’s considered one of the best pianists of our time. Indeed, he is much more than ‘just’ a musician; he is an artist whose intense commitment to painting, literature and philosophy makes him a fully rounded individual. This universal background lends an intellectual depth to his myriad of interpretations of major works by Mozart and Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt. At the same time, he infuses his art with a tremendous warmth and empathy that are profoundly affecting. He has also made a name for himself as a lecturer and author of lucid essays and humorous poetry. Alfred Brendel is without a doubt one of the music world’s biggest names of the 20th and 21st centuries”.
Alfred Brendel was born in 1931 in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia. After the war, he studied conducting and composition in Graz. At the age of 17, he made his concert debut. In the 1950s, he celebrated his first international successes and was soon performing at concerts all over the world. Starting in 1960, he began recording the complete piano works of Beethoven – the first collection of its kind.
In 1969/70, Alfred Brendel taught master classes in Vienna. In 1970, he moved to London where he focused in the following years on a number of cycles. For example, in the course of the 1970s, he recorded Mozart’s complete piano concertos together with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In the early 1980s, he went on tour with all 32
Beethoven sonatas. Among his vast repertoire are compositions by Schubert and Schumann, which he recorded together with Matthias Goerne and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau respectively.
In addition to his musical oeuvre, Brendel’s works of literature proved that he was equally capable of inspiring audiences as an author and wordsmith. His undying devotion to music and his legendary sense of humour are expressed with great eloquence in each of his books,
including “On Music: Collected Essays”, “A Pianist's A–Z: A Piano Lover's Reader” and his latest book “Wunderglaube und Mißtonleiter”. Brendel’s subtle way with words is displayed not least in his volumes of poetry, including “One finger too many” and “Cursing Bagels”.
ECHO KLASSIK – A Gathering of National and International Classical Music Stars
The ECHO KLASSIK is one of the most prestigious music awards in the world. In 2016, it will be handed out for the 23rd time in a row. Each year, a virtual who's-who of the classical music scene attends the glamorous ceremony. This year, the ECHO KLASSIK will be held on 9th October 2016 at the Konzerthaus in Berlin.
The German music-industry body known as the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, the cultural institute of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI), has organised the ECHO KLASSIK awards and honoured outstanding performances by national and international artists annually since 1994. The winners are chosen by a jury consisting of prominent industry experts. The key goals of the ECHO KLASSIK are to recognise extraordinary recordings but also to use the prestigious award to foster young talent and bring the fascination and diversity of classical music to a broader audience.
An overview of ECHO KLASSIK 2016 award winners (in alphabetical order):