What matters most? Commercial success or artistic merit? To win an Echo Klassik Award, both are needed. From Sol Gabetta to Alfred Brendel, the awards gala provides a virtual Who's Who of the classical music scene.
The Echo Klassik, Germany's top classical music award, is granted by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie and the German Association of the Music Industry (BVMI). Accordingly, the jury chooses the winners mainly on the basis of recordings released on CD or as downloads, and not based on live events.
Nonetheless, the awards offer a good overview of the country's classical music scene: with Germany being one the world's most important markets for classical music, the Echo Klassik awards are one of the most significant prizes worldwide.
No surprises at the gala
The award winners had already been revealed in August. A jury of industry experts recognized "the best and most successful interpreters of the year," with newcomer categories rewarding young talents.
The gala took place at the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin on Sunday. Altogether, 57 artists were honored in 23 categories. These included the best female and male singers of the year, best music recordings from various eras, best audio quality on CD or DVD as well as best young talents.
German public broadcaster ZDF covered the award ceremony, which included live performances, among others by the pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, the brass ensemble German Brass, and by singers Jonas Kaufmann, Philippe Jaroussky and Andrea Bocelli. Russian star soprano Anna Netrebko was also onstage with a strong contribution to the show. German TV presenter Thomas Gottschalk hosted the evening.