The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place at Seville, Spain, on 30 April 2020, with the Real Symphony Orchestra of Seville conducted by John Axelrod.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Elisabeth Leonskaja, piano
Elisabeth Leonskaja is one of those rare musicians who seem to transcend their time: she is a performer for the ages, and one of the last of the great Russian school, an immense artist whose intellectually superior humility in the face of music has made her universal reputation. Her recent recordings of the Schubert Sonatas – so vivid and so crisp – show that she is not repeating earlier interpretations but continuously refreshes her approach to the great repertoire.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Marina Rebeka, soprano
The Latvian singer Marina Rebeka embodies, perhaps more than any other, the idea of the ‘absolute soprano’: her repertoire spanning from Baroque to Verismo, from Belcanto to Russian music. She always stands out for the astounding perfection of her singing, her immaculate diction in many languages and a moving commitment to the theatrical demands of the different characters.
YOUNG ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Erica Piccotti, cello
Erica Piccotti is already, at 20, a cello player of enormous promise: her warm, velvety tone, coupled with an astonishing technical proficiency, allows her natural musical sensitivity to flow with beauty and spontaneity. Listening to Erica’s playing, it is easy to indulge in comparison with the great cello players of the past, for her maturity as an artist truly belies her age.
Philipp Schupelius, cello
The young German cellist Philipp Schupelius is an exceptionally gifted and charismatic musician. Characterized by rare passion and a total intellectual and emotional involvement, Philipp’s performances go straight to the heart. With his musical imagination coupled with technical virtuosity, he is at home in a broad repertoire. Such strong musicality and skill means that he has a bright future ahead of him.
LABEL OF THE YEAR
The Dutch label Pentatone does not limit itself to a specific period or genre, but releases great recordings of music from Baroque to the 21th century. Paying special attention to the quality of the recording process, the label offers both Vinyl and Hybrid SACD with deep and spacious sound of the highest quality. Its releases are appreciated not only for the extraordinary level of the interpretations but also for their modern and elegant design.
The Spanish-Luxembourgish composer and conductor Ivan Boumans is a very prolific composer with skills across all genres. But he is also more than that: in his so far 150-plus works from solo to chamber music, film and symphonic music as well as music-theatre, he has proved himself a composer of huge imagination and great musical expressivity revealing a deep artistic personality.
Who is Pepe Romero? I can say he is my dear friend and colleague with whom we recently made a successful tour in Germany. But perhaps it must be asked: Who is not Pepe Romero?
Pepe is not an ordinary musician. He is extraordinary, with aristocratic musical genes that would make even a monarch jealous and an artistic sensibility and curiosity that inspires everyone with whom he performs.
Pepe is not an egomaniac. He is an almanac of musical knowledge and an authentic person who generously shares his soul on stage for all to enjoy.
Pepe is not a trend. He is a legend in his time and for all time, championing Spanish music and bringing the full repertoire for the guitar to the world for over a half century.
Without Pepe, our musical literacy would be incomplete. Without Pepe, our lives would be emptier. So it is for these reasons and so many more that the Real Orquesta Sinfonica and I present this special ICMA 2020 Orchestra Award to Pepe Romero, who is not just any soloist of great fame, but a true member of our musical family forever. (Statement by John Axelrod)
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
John Axelrod is a highly imaginative and dynamic musician, whose rich musicological background and historical insights combine with intellectual drive and charismatic enthusiasm for people and for life, to get probing, rigorous and richly characterised interpretations. One of John Axelrod’s strengths is the energy he brings to live performances, based on his conviction that each opportunity to make music is a chance to bring about a better world.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
In 1980, Jérôme Lejeune founded the Belgian label Ricercar. 40 years on, Ricercar is a reference point for ancient and Baroque music. Music lovers owe him for many discoveries — from rare scores to several generations of excellent artists.