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Classical music stars attend the Gramophone Awards in London

posted 2 Oct 2010, 07:08 by Sam Mbale

Classical music stars attend Gramophone Awards in London.

The stars of the classical music world were at London's Dorchester Hotel on Friday (October 1) for the annual Gramophone Awards.

Considered classical music's version of the Oscars, winning one is a career highlight.

American opera star Joyce DiDonato took home two, to her delight, including the coveted Artist of the Year.

"Gramophone for a long time has been an iconic magazine and an iconic representation of the recording industry and it's something that as a young singer - you dream of being recognised by the Gramophone Awards", she told Reuters.

The mezzo-soprano won the hearts of many after breaking her leg on stage at the Royal Opera House in London on the opening night of the Barber of Seville, but soldiered on and continued performing.

"I had actually broken my fibula. So I went to the NHS hospital after work and found out I had broken a bone, got it put in to a plaster cast and spent the rest of the run in a wheelchair".

DiDonato beat other luminaries Plácido Domingo, concert pianist Lang Lang and Music Director of London's Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano to the title which was the result of a worldwide public vote.

Praising DiDonato, Gramophone magazine wrote: " 'Feistiness' - in the sense of ebullience … of being able to throw herself entirely into a role with all guns blazing, of being able to project a unique personality at the same time as vivid characterisations".

DiDonato performed with Antonio Pappano at the awards which also saw the lifetime achievement category go to Alfred Brendel.

The 79-year-old is considered one of the greatest piano players of all time and has been making music for 52 years. His final performances before he retired in 2008 received huge acclaim.

British vocal ensemble The Cardinall's Musick beat the world's best conductors, soloists and opera stars to win Recording of Year.

The Specialist Classical Chart Award went to Dutch violinist, conductor and showman Andre Rieu. His collection of Strauss waltzes on 'Forever Vienna' have dominated the Specialist Classical Chart this year and the album is currently at number 1.

Rieu could not attend the awards due to illness.

Sir Mark Elder and the Halle Orchestra, which is Britain's longest-established permanent professional symphony orchestra won two awards in the opera and concerto categories.

Elder, who has been with the Manchester, England based orchestra for ten years, is widely credited for elevating it to extremely high musical standards.

Speaking to Reuters he said, "It's very encouraging that the work we're doing in Manchester is being listened to all over the world and that people are appreciating what we're trying to do."