Steven Isserlis honoured with 14th Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward

24/05/2017

German watchmaker presents cellist with prestigious Award in Dresden’s Kulturpalast

Renowned British cellist Steven Isserlis has received the 14th Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward. Glashütte Original CEO Thomas Meier presented the soloist with the honour Tuesday evening on the occasion of his concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra before 1,800 guests in the sold-out Dresden Kulturpalast. Honoured for his exceptional efforts in support of talented young musicians, Steven Isserlis accepted the 25,000 Euro Award and a trophy made by two apprentice watchmakers.  

24/05/2017

On the evening of May 23 in the sold-out concert hall of the newly renovated Dresden Kulturpalast, the celebrated British cellist Steven Isserlis accepted the Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward. Glashütte Original CEO Thomas Meier was on hand to present the Award to the exceptional musician in the presence of Festival Director Jan Vogler, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and some 1,800 guests. Now in its 14th year, the 25,000 Euro Award funded by watchmaker Glashütte Original is presented annually together with the Dresden Music Festival. 

»I am very happy to receive the 2017 »Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward«. It is a great honour, and a particular pleasure to receive this prize from Glashütte Original and from a valued (and generous!) cellocolleague, Jan Vogler. Music education has always been very close to my heart. I have been lucky enough to work with many great teachers, including my childhood teacher, Jane Cowan, and the Hungarian dynamo Sándor Végh – as well as, in more recent times, two other great Hungarians, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. I feel that it is my duty to pass along to the younger generation of players the values I imbibed from those inspired musicians. Bringing music to children is another preoccupation in my career. The life of any child, from whatever background, can be transformed by music. As well as providing personal fulfillment, music can be of immense help in social terms within difficult circumstances; we have seen tangible results of that in the forms of youth ensembles around the world, such as the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, Buskaid in South Africa, and many others. Musical friendships are made that last for life; playing in groups with others teaches the importance of mutual respect, and of listening to others; sharing a musical goal can be as strong a bond as any in childhood. And children, as well as adults, turn to music in times of loneliness or sadness; music will never let them down. I think it’s true to say that a singing child is generally a happy child; the more we can bring great music into the lives of children everywhere, the better those lives will be,«  Steven Isserlis said in Dresden.

The evening’s concert saw Isserlis in brilliant form as he performed work from the Russian “Revolution Programme” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Jurowski. The enthusiastic audience was also treated to Mikhail Glinka’s Overture “Recollection of a Summer Night in Madrid”, Sergei Prokofiev’s Cello Concert in E Minor op. 58 and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 in A Major op. 141. 

Exceptional commitment to supporting emerging talent

Steven Isserlis enjoys worldwide renown, and not solely for his expressive performances as a concert soloist. The Glashütte Original MusicFestivalAward honours him in particular for his exceptionally creative activities as a teacher of music. Traditionally the Award is conferred upon international artists who distinguish themselves in equal measure by their musical capabilities and their commitment to younger musicians. Not only does Isserlis routinely compose music for children and play regularly with very young friends of music – he is also a teacher, as passionate as he is famous, of diverse master classes.  

As a result he was all the more pleased to learn that “his” trophy had been fashioned by two apprentice watchmakers from Glashütte Original’s “Alfred Helwig” School of Watchmaking. “As a traditional manufactory we know from experience how important it is to pass on valuable knowledge to carefully selected young talent. One needs sensitivity, superb artistic skills and an authentic, original approach to working with young people,” said Glashütte Original CEO Thomas Meier. “We are very proud to honour every year, together with the Dresden Music Festival, musicians who – like our watchmakers – embody this approach with sincere passion in their day-to-day work.” 

Among Isserlis’s predecessors as recipients of this Award are such prominent artists as Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Hélène Grimaud, Hilary Hahn, fado singer Mariza and the conductor Andris Nelsons. Since 2004 Glashütte Original has been a supporting partner of the prestigious Festival, dedicated this year to the theme of “light”. The diversified programme of the 40th Dresden Music Festival will continue to present exceptional artists in multifaceted venues through the 18th of June. The celebrated concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the concomitant tribute to its soloist Steven Isserlis will be remembered as an exceptional highlight of this year’s Festival.

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