Russian pianist receives Oscar analog in classical music

Russian pianist Arkady Volodos has won the prestigious British Gramophone Award, which is often referred to as the Oscar in classical sound recording industry.

The recording of the concert "Volodos in Vienna" was named the best in Instrumental music category.

The CD was recorded at the Big Concert Hall of the Vienna Music Society and was subsequently released by Sony records in February, 2010.

Compositions by Jóhann Sebástian Bach, Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel, Robert Schumann, Aleksandr Scriabin and also "Lullaby in a storm" from the "Children's songs" collection by Pyotr Tchaikovsky in Volodos’s piano arrangement entered the track-list of the CD.

The record and the pianist’s performances in Austria in 2009 met enthusiastic reviews of both the professional and amateur classical music communities.

Volodos who has already scored himself the nickname “new [Vladimir] Horowitz”, was born into a family of vocalists. He began to study singing and choral conducting first, however, aged 16, the young Volodos concentrated his efforts on playing the piano.

After his studies at a school at the Moscow Conservatory, Volodos moved to continue his education in Madrid at the Queen Sofia Higher Music School and later went to improve his skills in Paris, where Jacques Rouvier became his mentor. In 1999, Volodos debuted in Carnegie Hall, and only after six years – in 2005 – he played his first solo concert in Russia.

Other Gramophone Award winners

American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was named Artist of the Year according to the results of an international online-poll, beating such fellow nominees as Plácido Domingo, Lang Lang and Antonio Pappano.

William Byrd’s mass “Infelix Ego”, performed by the British vocal ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick under Andrew Carwood, was named “Recording of the Year”.

Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta received the title of Young Artist of the Year, and James Inverne gave his Editor’s Choice Award to Marin Alsop’s recording of Bernstein’s Mass on Naxos. Label of the Year was announced as the Scotland-based Linn Records, and André Rieu received the Specialist Classical Chart Award, a reflection of the dominance in the chart of his "Forever Vienna" album throughout much of the past year.

Pianist Alfred Brendel was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, while the Special Achievement Award was given to the founder of the Chandos label, Brian Couzens.