Classical Music Awards: Conductor of the Year - Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Artists strike triumphant note on big awards night

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The Independent Culture
AN ORCHESTRAL cellist to start with, Harnoncourt - born in Berlin in 1929 - places a deep understanding of the instruments themselves at the centre of the conductor's craft. The composer comes first; projection of ego is ever the point. The unique, vivid excitement of Harnoncourt's performances derives from conviction and shared understanding. He first came to international prominence three decades ago as an early music specialist, having founded the Concentus Musicus Wien with colleagues from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, in order to pioneer the use of period instruments. Nowadays he works with symphony orchestras, bringing scores to new life with the use of appropriate techniques and insights from his period-style experience. He often works with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, and has made a hugely praised recorded cycle of Beethoven symphonies with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

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