|US$1m Birgit Nilsson Prize, a high point for Vienna Philharmonic
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, one of Austria’s most famous cultural exports, is the winner of this year's US$1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize, the foundation announced.
The prize, awarded every three years, is named after the famous Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson. It is the biggest prize in classical music.
The orchestra, which has a history of 172 years, has built a major following in world capitals for its traditional New Year concert in Vienna. The broadcast reaches 90 countries.
Its first concert was on March 28, 1842.
It is the first time an orchestra has been chosen since the prize was launched in 2009. Then, the choice fell on tenor Placido Domingo, who was personally picked by Nilsson and honored three years after her death.
Conductor Ricardo Muti was picked three years later.
Orchestra President Clemens Hellsberg said he was honored.
He described the famed Swedish soprano as having a huge “impact on my life,’’ as a violinist.
Birgit Nilsson Foundation president Rutbert Reisch said the choice of the orchestra fit award criteria of artists “who have made the biggest contribution to classical music.''
Hellsberg, who is on the five-member jury that decides on winners, withdrew from the judging once it became clear that an orchestra would be chosen this year.
He said the full orchestra would travel to Stockholm for the October 8 award ceremony, in the presence of King Swedish King Carl XVI Gustav for a performance of works by Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, conducted by Muti. –AP/The Standard