For immediate release
March 25, 1998

Nominees Announced for Only American Awards Devoted Exclusively to Classical Music
Winners Announced April 15 at New York City's Lincoln Center

WASHINGTON, DC The New York Philharmonic, Emerson String Quartet and 1997 Van Cliburn Piano Competition-winner Jon Nakamatsu were among the nominees announced today for NPR's Performance Today® Awards, America's only honors devoted exclusively to classical music. The awards are sponsored by NPR's Performance Today, America's premier classical music radio program.

Twenty-five-year-old Russian piano sensation Arcadi Volodos and former Beatle-turned- classical-composer Paul McCartney led the list with two nominations each. Others honored in the Awards six categories include: cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Mstislav Rostropovich, the Eroica Trio, conductors Simon Rattle and Leonard Slatkin, composers Tod Machover and John Tavener, violinists Hilary Hahn and Gil Shaham, tenor Roberto Alagna and Kronos Quartet, a previous Performance Today Award-winner.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at New Yorks Lincoln Center on Wednesday, April 15 from 9 to 11 am. The ceremony will be co-hosted by WNYC, which broadcasts NPRs Performance Today in New York at 8:00 every weeknight on FM 93.9.

Now in its second decade, NPR's Performance Today features exclusive recordings of concert performances from around the world, as well as in-depth reporting on the classical music scene. The program spotlights both established and emerging artists and recently presented the broadcast premieres of classical works from pop stars Billy Joel as well as nominee McCartney. Winner of the prestigious ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music broadcasting, NPR's Performance Today is heard by 1.5 million Americans every week on public radio stations nationwide.

Critic's Choice Awards

The Critics Choice Awards honor the commercially released compact discs that our judges consider the most significant or artistically meritorious recordings of 1997. (There will be three winners in this category.)

  • Adams: El Dorado; Nagano/Halle Orchestra (Nonesuch)
  • Beethoven: The String Quartets; Emerson String Quartet (DG)
  • Brahms: The Four Symphonies; Mackerras/Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Telarc)
  • Bruckner: Symphony No. 7; Rattle/City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI)
  • Chopin: Piano Music; Richard Goode (Nonesuch)
  • Dvorak for Two; Gil Shaham/Orli Shaham (DG)
  • Handel Arias; Bryn Terfel (DG)
  • Vagn Holmboe: Symphonies; Hughes, conductor (BIS)
  • Klebanov: Viola Concerto/Japanese Silhouettes; Blazhkov and Kapp/Philharmonia Virtuosi (ESS.A.Y)
  • Korngold: Symphony/Much Ado About Nothing; (Previn/London Symphony Orchestra (DG)
  • Puccini: La Rondine; Roberto Alagna/Angela Gheorghiu (EMI)
  • Rossini: Stabat Mater; Myung-Whun Chung/Vienna Philharmonic (DG)
  • Franz Schmidt: The Four Symphonies; Jarvi, conductor (Chandos)
  • The Schubert Album; Renee Fleming/Christoph Eschenbach (London)
  • Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; Kubelik/Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (CALIG)

Debut Artist of the Year

The Debut Artist of the Year award recognizes a young performer or ensemble making a first appearance in 1997 in a musical feature capacity on NPR's Performance Today.

  • Brentano String Quartet
  • Timothy Jones, Baritone
  • Jon Nakamatsu, piano
  • Puirt a Baroque, early music/Cape Breton
  • Rebel Consort, early music ensemble
  • Arcadi Volodos, piano

Debut Recording of the Year

The Debut Recording of the Year award recognizes a young performer or ensemble making a first appearance in 1997 on a commercially-released recording.

  • Brian Asawa, countertenor: The Dark is My Delight (RCA)
  • Jose Cura, tenor: Puccini Arias (Erato)
  • Eroica Trio (EMI)
  • Susan Graham, soprano: Berlioz: Les Nuits d'Eté (Sony Classical)
  • Hilary Hahn, violin: Bach: Sonatas & Partitas (Sony Classical)
  • Christian Thielemann, conductor: Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 7 (DG)
  • Arcadi Volodos: Piano Transcriptions (Sony Classical)

Heritage Award

The Heritage Award recognizes a recording or series of recordings released in 1997 that most helps to foster understanding, appreciation, preservation and celebration of classical music and its artists.

  • Beethoven Edition (DG)
  • Brahms: Piano Concertos; Fleisher/Szell/Cleveland Orchestra (Sony Classical)
  • Maria Callas Series (EMI)
  • Cleveland Orchestra Szell Centennial CD Edition (Cleveland Orchestra)
  • Emil Gilels Edition (Melodiya)
  • Karajan Edition (EMI)
  • New York Philharmonic: The Historic Radio Broadcasts 1923-1987 (New York Philharmonic)
  • Grieg: Lyric Pieces; Gilels, piano (DG)
  • Rostropovich: The Russian Years (EMI)
  • Violin Concertos by Black Composers; Barton/Hege/Encore Chamber Orchestra (Cedille)
  • Gregor Piatigorsky: Great Cello Concertos (Sony Masterworks Heritage)

New Horizon Award

The New Horizon Award recognizes an artist, ensemble or composer whose recordings, demonstrate significant potential to reach a newer, younger or broader audience, without compromising artistic quality.

  • Boston Pops/Lockhart: American Visions (RCA)
  • Michael Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Zinman/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Argo)
  • Paul Hillier/Theatre of Voices: De Profundis: Music of Arvo Part (Harmonia Mundi)
  • Kronos Quartet: Early Music (Nonesuch)
  • Tod Machover/Joel Cohen: Angels: Voices from Eternity (Erato)
  • Paul McCartney: Standing Stone (EMI)
  • Music for the Soul: Thomas Moore, anthologist (EMI)
  • John Tavener: Innocence (Sony Classical)

Player of the Year

The Player of the Year award recognizes a performer, teacher, conductor or other figure active in the field of classical music, who has made both major contributions to classical music and served as an outstanding advocate for the art form.

  • Pierre Boulez
  • Henry Fogel
  • Norman Lebrecht
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Midori
  • Kurt Masur
  • Paul McCartney
  • Bobby McFerrin
  • Luciano Pavarotti
  • Robert Shaw
  • Leonard Slatkin

Another double nominee was 25-year-old Russian piano sensation Arcadi Volodos.

WNYC, the most listened-to public radio service in the country, is the home of NPR News in New York. WNYC also produces live on-air concerts as well more than 150 hours of programming locally each week, including Morning Music with Steve Post, Midday Music with Sarah Fishko, and New Sounds with John Schaefer on 93.9 FM, Classic New York, and On the Line with Brian Lehrer, New York & Company with Leonard Lopate, and On the Media with Brian Lehrer on AM 820, Radio New York.

National Public Radio, a membership organization of 591 public radio stations nationwide, produces and distributes the award-winning programs All Things Considered®, Talk of the Nation®, Weekend Edition® and NPR's Performance Today®.