The conductor, musicologist and instructor is to be honored in 2014 with the most prestigious German music award, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize.
Peter Gülke, president of the Sächsische Akademie der Künste (Saxon Academy of the Arts) in Dresden has won an award bearing 250,000 euros ($338,000) in prize money, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation announced on Friday (31.01.2014).
"For many years, Peter Gülke has cemented a reputation with his major achievements in the area of music scholarship," the jury wrote of its decision, describing him as a crosser of boundaries and a "connector of worlds." The jury added that he has repeatedly managed to build bridges between theory and praxis and between the divergent professional roles he has taken on.
Peter Gülke was born in 1934 in Weimar, where he later studied cello, musicology, German and ancient philology and philosophy. From the start, he became especially interested in the music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, writing papers on aspects of music history as well as theories of musical interpretation and performance practice. He devoted attention to composers from other eras as well, such as Schubert, Debussy, Schönberg, Berg and Lutoslawski.
Gülke's conducting career began in small cities in East Germany. Later positions included those of conductor at the Dresdener Staatsoper (Dresden State Opera) and general music director in Weimar. As a free-spirited thinker, Gülke found himself a thorn in the side of the East German regime and was forced to leave the country in 1983. He served as general music director of in the western German city of Wuppertal (1986-1996) for ten years, took over a professorship in Freiburg and taught courses in musicology in Basel and Zurich. As of one year ago, Peter Gülke resumed living in his home city of Weimar and serves as the president of the Sächsische Akademie der Künste.
pz / gsw (dpa)