Estonia takes centre stage at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards

13. September 2018.

In the centenary year of its independence, Estonia stepped into the limelight at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards with two awards and as the country whose National Symphony Orchestra provided the live music-making. Estonia 100 is an Associate Sponsor of this year’s Awards.

The distinguished Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi was honoured with Gramophone’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A prolific recording artist, Järvi has recorded over 400 albums, primarily for Chandos, BIS and DG. Many of the orchestras he has led during his long career sent greetings, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. He was also hailed by Andris Nelsons, Dame Felicity Lott, Truls Mørk, as well as his recording teams from Chandos and BIS.

Writing in the Awards issue of Gramophone, Editor in Chief James Jolly writes: At 81 Neeme Järvi remains an inspiration. Orchestras love working with him because he brings out the best in every player. Young musicians love him because he knows his craft completely; not for nothing did he learn his trade in Leningrad, watching and absorbing the artistry of conductors like Rabinovich, Sanderling and Mravinsky. To his two conducting sons, Paavo and Kristjan, he is the father any budding musician must dream of. His impact on music, and music on record, is unique.’

The Choral Award went to a BIS recording of music by Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt sung by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Kaspars Putniņš. Writing about the recording in the Awards issue of Gramophone, Ivan Moddy said that ‘The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is no stranger to challenging repertoire, but under the direction of Kaspars Putniņš it has reached new heights: technical mastery is here matched by a profound understanding of the complexity of [Schnittke’s] approach to these ancient texts.’

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, whose Music Director Neeme Järvi has been twice – from 1963 to 1979, and then again from 2010 – came over from Tallinn specially to perform at the ceremony, offering music by a number of Estonian composers including Jaan Rääts, Heino Eller, Arvo Pärt and Peeter Vähli. Conducting duties were shared by Neeme and his son Kristjan.

The Gramophone Awards ceremony took place at the glamorous De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden on Thursday September 13, and was broadcast live on The ceremony is available to view on medici for 90 days.

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About Gramophone Awards
The annual Gramophone Classical Music Awards, the world’s most influential classical recorded-music prizes, were launched in 1977 by Gramophone magazine (founded in 1923 by Sir Compton Mackenzie). The Awards celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2017. Available internationally, Gramophone publishes a bespoke edition of the magazine for North America. Gramophone’s full, searchable archive of magazines from 1923 to the latest issue is available digitally for iPad and other tablet devices, smartphone or computer.