Olga Neuwirth

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2021

Olga Neuwirth

 

Award Citation:

“for her outstanding mastery, artistry and communicative skill as a composer of today”.

 

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Olga Neuwirth

Stevie Wonder

 

Both Olga Neuwirth and Stevie Wonder, though fundamentally different in genre and style, have pushed the boundaries of their art, each in his/her own realm of expression, to serve as vehicle for universal values and humanistic ideals.

Olga Neuwirth was born in 1968 in Graz, Austria and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, also studying painting and film at San Francisco Art College. For over 30 years Olga Neuwirth’s works have explored a wide range of forms and genres: operas, radio-plays, sound-installations, art-works, photography and film-music. In many works she fuses live-music, electronics and video into audio-visual experiences. Her work, characterized by an incomparable tonal language and the exploration of new musical forms, has been highly celebrated by audiences and critics worldwide over the last decades and is without doubt a significant enrichment of the repertoire of contemporary music. Olga Neuwirth is one of the most complete contemporary composers of her generation. Her constant quest for adventure and innovation has resulted in a creative outpouring of a rare intensity and her work is a testimony to a masterful, singular voice that is ever-resistant to outside pressures. Her Music-theatre pieces expand the collaborative vocabulary of opera, to explore further interactions between traditional ensembles, live-electronics, imagery and architecture using advanced audio-visual technologies, unfolding a new world of sound images, mixing traditional fragments of multiple source, creating metamorphoses characterized by shifts, transgressions and associative references. Neuwirth chooses her topics with great sensitivity and relevance. They run from focusing on the human voice as a manifestation of the soul, through feminism and gender identity to poignant reflection on dark historical moments. Olga Neuwirth’s brilliant and courageous art serves her as a platform to explore burning contemporary philosophical, social and political ideas, bringing them to the awareness of multiple audiences in the world’s most prestigious venues

Stevie Wonder

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2021

Stevie Wonder

 

Award Citation:

“for his remarkable musical and philanthropic contributions, enriching the lives of generations of music lovers”.

 

Prize Share:

Stevie Wonder 

Olga Neuwirth

 

Both Neuwirth and Wonder, though fundamentally different in genre and style, have pushed the boundaries of their art, each in his/her own realm of expression, to serve as a vehicle for universal values and humanistic ideals.

Stevie Wonder, Born in Michigan in 1950, a world-renowned singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer – and an outstanding ambassador for peace. Stevie Wonder’s music draws its inspiration from rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, and Funk, but its core is welded deeply into the rich culture of the black community throughout the history of the United States and its roots in Africa. Stevie Wonder’s Beautiful and soulful lyrics reflect a wide variety of relevant topics, from deep personal thoughts and emotions up to social and political issues that deal with discrimination, racism, Poverty and cultural expression within society as such they continue to be extremely relevant up to this day While the music contribution of Stevie Wonder has shaped popular music worldwide since the 1960s, with dozens of records and numerous unforgettable songs, his ongoing commitment to support social struggles in the interest of humanity and his activism for peace.

Stevie Wonder, has been one of the brightest stars in the firmament of singers and song-writers for almost 50 years. In the USA, he has received practically every outstanding Honor and Award and is generally considered an icon of the American music scene. In his brilliant and unique musical language that broadened the melodic, harmonic and sound-concept of the genre, he has transformed the music world and influenced many of the great musicians who came after him. Wonder has combined words and music to articulate joy and pain, deeply rooted in hardship, sadness and injustice, criticizing the racist American society. His message of love and peace and universal brotherly love has inspired and helped so many. Wonder has left strong, lasting marks as a humanitarian, philanthropist and civil rights activist, as he has used his success and fame to affect people and make the world a better place.

Paul McCartney

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2018

Sir Paul McCartney

 

Award citation:

“The Orpheus of our era”

 

Prize Share:

Sir Paul McCartney 

Adam Fischer

 

Sir Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His versatility underlies an extraordinary wingspan, from the most physical rock to melodies of haunting and heartbreaking intimacy. His lyrics have an equally broad range, from the naive and the charming to the poignant and even desperate. He has touched the hearts of the entire world, both as a Beatle and in his subsequent bands, including Wings. Like all great art, his melodies are both of their time and beyond time: today a third generation finds itself under the spell of his invidious imagination. There is little doubt that his songs, like those of the great classical masters Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, and like those of his more modern predecessors (among them Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin) will be sung and savored as long as there are human beings to lift up their voices.

On July 6, 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon at Woolton Village Fete and joined his skiffle group, the Quarrymen, which, after several name changes, became the Beatles. McCartney and Lennon quickly established themselves as songwriters for the group, and, by the time the Beatles signed with EMI-Parlophone in 1962, they were writing most of their own material. By their third album the group stopped recording covers. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership was very important to them, both financially and creatively; even in 1969, when they were estranged over business matters and supposedly not on speaking terms, Lennon brought McCartney his song The Ballad of John and Yoko. Their music transcended personal differences.

Though usually associated with ballads and love songs, McCartney also was responsible for many of the Beatles’ harder rock songs, such as Lady Madonna, Back in the USSR, and Helter Skelter (all 1968), but above all he has an extraordinary gift for melodies and sometimes tags an entirely new one on to the end of a song, as he did with Hey Jude (1968).

The Beatles ceased playing live shows in 1966. After their breakup in 1970, McCartney recorded two solo albums, McCartney (1970) and Ram (1971), before forming the band Wings with his wife Linda (formerly Linda Eastman). Wings toured the world and became the best-selling pop act of the 1970s, with an astonishing 27 U.S. Top 40 hits and five consecutive number one albums, including the highly acclaimed Band on the Run (1973) and Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976).
Critics loved his 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt, which coincided with his return to live performance. In 1997 McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music.

In 2001 a volume of his poetry, Blackbird Singing, which also included some song lyrics, was published. McCartney celebrated his 62nd birthday in Russia in 2004, playing his 3,000th concert to an audience of 60,000 people in St. Petersburg.

With some 60 gold records and sales of more than 100 million singles in the course of his career, McCartney is arguably the most commercially successful performer and composer in popular music. The 1965 Beatles track Yesterday (wholly written by McCartney and performed alone with a string quartet) has been played some six million times on U.S. radio and television, far outstripping its nearest competitor. Moreover, with over 3,000 cover versions, it is also the most-recorded song ever. In 2009 the U.S. Library of Congress announced that McCartney would be awarded its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

More than a rock musician, McCartney is now regarded as a British institution; an icon like warm beer and cricket, he has become part of British identity

Adam Fischer

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2018

Adam Fischer

 

Award citation:

“who is recognized as an Inspirational conductor and eloquent defender of human rights”.

 

Prize Share:

Adam Fischer

Sir Paul McCartney 

 

Ádám Fischer is one of the most distinguished conductors active today. Trained in Budapest and Vienna, he has had a long association with the Vienna State Opera and was made an honorary member in 2017. He held the post of principal conductor in Karlsruhe, general music director in Freiburg im Breisgau, and music director of the Kassel Opera.

Fischer created an international Gustav Mahler Festival in Kassel and founded and directs the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, performing in the venue in which Haydn premiered a majority of his symphonies. His active career encompasses the major opera houses and most prestigious orchestras of the world.

His support of human rights, and in particular, his protest against the political developments in his native Hungary, make him an artist of exemplary integrity–a quality that shapes his interpretations as well as the morality of his stance.

The Wolf Foundation is proud to recognize in Ádám Fischer a musical leader beloved around the world, whose aspirations serve as an inspiration to us all. Dynamic initiative and diversity characterise the creative work of the world-renowned conductor Adam Fischer. He is the founder of two international festivals where he has found an artistic home. Under his direction, the Wagner Festival in Budapest has established an excellent reputation in the more than ten years of its existence – with opera productions at the Palace of Arts, including Wagner’s Ring cycle as their centrepiece performed on four consecutive days every year. The Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt was founded in 1987 and has established its reputation as a renowned centre for performing the music of Haydn. At the same time, Adam Fischer founded the Österreichisch-Ungarische Haydn Philharmonie for the festival. In the many years as their Principal Conductor he set new standards for the interpretation of Haydn’s music. The recordings of the complete Haydn symphonies which have received numerous awards are a testimony to this achievement. He retains close links with the orchestra as their Honorary Conductor. Adam Fischer‘s most recent project for the forthcoming seasons is to dedicate himself to the complete works of Gustav Mahler which he will perform in concert and record live on CD together with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker whose Principal Conductor he has been since 2015. He is also Artistic Consultant to the Tonhalle concert hall in Düsseldorf where he has initiated a human rights award which will be presented every year at a specially organised human rights concert. Adam Fischer has a close relationship with the Danish Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen, whose Principal Conductor he has been since 1998, an artistic partnership which has found its expression especially in a highly acclaimed and award-winning recording of Mozart’s complete symphonic work. This successful collaboration is now being continued with a Beethoven cycle. At the Wiener Staatsoper, which has been one of his artistic homes since 1973, Adam Fischer has conducted several new productions and as many as 26 different operas. One of the recent highlights was a series of perfomances of Wagner’s Walküre which was enthusiastically received in Tokyo, as part of the Wiener Staatsoper’s guest performance in Japan in 2016. For his services he was appointed Hononary Member of the Wiener Staatsoper in consultation with the Austrian Minister for Culture in 2017. With an extremely wide repertoire of German and Italian opera, Adam Fischer has appeared for more than thirty years at all the leading opera houses worldwide including the MET in New York, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Covent Garden in London, the Opéra de Bastille in Paris, Oper Zürich and La Scala in Milan, where he recently conducted a highly acclaimed new production of the Magic Flute, a work with which he made his debut there in 1986. A guest at the Bayreuth Festival for many years, he was elected Conductor of the Year by the German magazine Opernwelt in 2002 for his performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle. In the concert hall, Adam Fischer regularly appears on the podium with the Wiener Philharmoniker (2017 Mozartwoche Salzburg and subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein), Wiener Symphoniker (this season subscription concerts and “Frühling in Wien” at the Vienna Musikverein) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (recently in London, New York Carnegie Hall and Budapest), the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg (Mozart matinees at the Salzburg Festival) and in collaboration with all the leading orchestras worldwide such as the Münchner Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic, Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, NHK Symphony Orchestra. After studying composition and conducting in his home town Budapest and in Vienna with the legendary Hans Swarowsky, Adam Fischer first took up engagements as a répétiteur and Kapellmeister which led him to Graz, Helsinki, Karlsruhe and Munich. He was General Music Director in Freiburg (1981-1983), Kassel (1987-1992) and Mannheim (2000-2005) before returning to his native Budapest as Artistic Director of the Budapest Opera (2007-2010). Two Echo Klassik Awards for the recordings of the complete collection of symphonies by Joseph Haydn (Österreichisch-Ungarische Haydn Philharmonie), an International Classical Music Award in 2015 for a recording of the complete collection of Mozart’s symphonies (Danish Chamber Orchestra) and the Grand Prix du Disque awarded for the recordings of Goldmark’s The Queen of Sheba and Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle document the wide range of his work in his extensive discography. Adam Fischer is an Honorary Member of the Musikverein für Steiermark in Graz. He is a recipient of the Order of Dannebrog which was given to him by the Queen of Denmark and has been awarded the honorary title of professor by the Austrian Federal President.

Murray Perahia

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2015

Murray Perahia

 

Award citation:

“for his thrilling and sincere interpretation of music and his influence On the new generation”.  

 

Prize share:

Murray Perahia

Jessye Norman

 

One of the great pianists of our times, Murray Perahia has excelled in promoting the music of all creative periods. He has been a great influence on a great number of upcoming pianists in the world and encouraged many students to enhance their art.

Through his extraordinary performances, he has become a model for all serious musicians and music lovers, while he never compromised his standards.

Perahia is constantly trying to emphasize the composer’s intentions rather than his own ego and yet- his unique personality is evident in every one of his performances.

Jessye Norman

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2015

Jessye Norman

 

Award citation:

“for her extraordinary performances worldwide, her educational activities and her devotion for health related causes.

 

Prize share:

Jessye Norman

Murray Perahia

 

Jessye Norman was not only an outstanding personality in the world of music but has done a great deal to encourage young people to seek a career as singers as well as musicians in general. She has had a profound influence on many students of all races and genders, which has greatly improved their status as well as their lives.

Besides her musical activity, that enriched large and different audiences, from classical music lovers to Jazz and Afro American Music followers, she has been involved in very important social activities such as fighting for health related causes. With the warm, winning and honest personality, she opened the world of music to wide audiences throughout the world.

Simon Rattle

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2012

Sir Simon Denis Rattle

 

Award citation:

“for being a leading international figure among the conductors of our time. His worldwide reputation as a perfectionist in performing a wide range of musical works is highly appreciated by those who played under his baton, as well as various audiences around the world”.

 

Prize share:

Simon Rattle

Placido Domingo

 

Simon Rattle (born in 1955, in Liverpool) is a British-German conductor, best noted for his work with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, and with the orchestral works of Mahler, Beethoven, and Sibelius. Rattle has in fact conducted a wide range of repertoire, showing a particular affinity for adventurous orchestral work from the 20th century – by composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky and Szymanowski.

As a child, Rattle learned the piano and violin and played percussion for the Merseyside Youth Orchestra. At 16 years old, in 1971, he entered the Royal Academy of Music.

In 1974, he was made assistant conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Glyndebourne music staff at the age of 20 in 1975. He went on to conduct over 200 performances of 13 different operas at Glyndebourne and on tour during the subsequent 28 years.

At the age of 21, in 1976, Rattle made his first Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, conducting the London Sinfonietta in August 1976, with a programme including the première of Harrison Birtwistle’s Meridian and Arnold Schoenberg’s First Chamber Symphony.

In 1977, he became assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

From 1980 to 1998, Rattle was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. He moved to Berlin in 2002 and held the positions of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Placido Domingo

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2012

Placido Domingo

 

Award citation:

“for being one of the greatest legendary tennors of all times, instrumental in giving many young artists encouragement and showing devotion to humanitarion causes”.

 

Prize share:

Placido Domingo

Simon Rattle

 

Maestro Placido Domingo of the Washington and Los Angeles Opera Houses, USA – Placido Domingo is one of the greatest tenors of all times. He has appeared in leading roles in 128 operas in around the world. His repertoire encompasses works from the early 18th century to Wagner and contemporary operas. Since the beginning of his career, Placido Domingo has also exhibited devotion to Israel and to various humanitarian causes. He has been especially active in encouraging young artists, and has shown much initiative as the ambassador of Hear the World, an organization that raises awareness about the importance of hearing and educates the public about the consequences of hearing loss. Placido Domingo is a tenor famous for his powerful, multicolored voice that retains its purity and clarity at all registers.

Notably, at the beginning of this career, Domingo appeared with the Israeli opera between 1962 and 1965. The award to Domingo is the first time the Wolf Foundation has awarded a prize to a vocal artist.

Giya Kancheli

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2008/9

Giya Kancheli

 

Award citation:

“Giya Kancheli is one of the world’s greatest contemporary composers, whose unique music is infused with unforgettable beauty”.

 

Prize share:

Giya Kancheli 

Claudio Abbado

 

His remarkable symphonies alternate between surrealistic serenity and an almost violent outburst of intensity. Kancheli´s music expresses the full range of human emotions, from deep religiosity to effusive passion, and from optimism to pessimism. His music connects between an aura of mysticism and realistic depictions.

Through his music, of immense depths, Kancheli has become a source of worldwide influence, most especially on the younger generation of composers.

 

 

Claudio Abbado

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2008/9

Claudio Abbado

 

Prize share:

Claudio Abbado

Giya Kancheli 

 

 

Claudio Abbado is one of the world’s pre-eminent conductors. A remarkable human being, whose music-making is imbued with passion, intellect and love. Abbado’s interpretations of great musical works expose incredible depths.

Abbado brought Milan’s La Scala Opera House and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to new heights. An exceptional conductor, he has nurtured and promoted the immense musical talent of the younger generation.

Abbado also established, developed, and brought to public attention, the Mahler Youth Orchestra and the European Community Youth Orchestra, transforming these into two of the world´s most extraordinary orchestras.