The Classical Music Awards 1994: Stars come together in a new wide world: Artistic barriers are falling in a celebration of the whole field, writes Robert Maycock

IF you are new to the world of classical music, you will know all about it being exciting to watch the tenor Jose Carreras, the composer Henryk Gorecki and the 13-year-old violinist Sarah Chang follow one another on to the same concert platform. But unusual? You need to have followed the scene for a while to see it that way.

Opera, contemporary music and instrumental music used to look like closed worlds, each with their own stars and fans and no room inside for anybody else. Now, at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday, here they were sharing in the Classical Music Awards 1994. Among other winners were the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and the Kronos Quartet, the Fourth Symphony of Witold Lutoslawski and, in a visually stunning Japanese production, Stravinsky's opera-cantata Oedipus Rex. Celebrating the whole field: that was the point.

The idea was sparked off between the television producer Ultan Guilfoyle and musician Bob Geldof. Enthusiasm and discovery were the driving forces. It is all too easy for an industry to set up self-congratulatory prizes that reward the famous for being famous. That would mean tough luck for pioneers and innovators and anybody who is not yet a best-seller. Instead, there needed to be a way of honouring those who have the respect of the musicians themselves and those who are catching the imagination of the public. The key question was to find the right way of choosing them.

A jury of people active in international music read, listened, watched, and then shortlisted their nominations for each category. Then, under the chairmanship of the Independent's editor, Andreas Whittam Smith, came the final decisions.' They stuck their necks out with cheerful abandon,' said Guilfoyle later - though the meeting itself was 'relatively bloodless'.

The verdicts feature on these two pages. Each winner received a copy of Dhruva Mistry's limited-edition award sculpture, a calm but powerful 11-inch bronze. They, or their nominees, came to the ceremony along with presenters Melvyn Bragg and Evelyn Glennie, the English Chamber Orchestra and their conductor Marc Soustrot. They emerged on a spectacular television- style set on the Royal Albert Hall stage - wich the composer Michael Berkeley, who had the job of warming up the audience before the show, described as 'an old friend decked out in a frilly negligee'.

And they made music. Soustrot and the ECO started them off with one of Benjamin Britten's vivacious Rossini arrangements, and marked the triumph of a festival of Nordic arts with a distinctly Gallic dash through a Grieg Norwegian Dance. Valery Gergiev, conductor of the year, went further up-tempo in Prokofiev, and Thomas Hampson soared over the orchestra with an aria from Verdi's Don Carlos.

There were surprises: Glennie turned from presenter to performer and delivered part of a concerto by Milhaud. Carreras, despite engagements in Germany the day before and the day after, appeared in person though he didn't sing. Other surprises were less welcome, including the inevitable disappointments of indisposition. Bartoli had to cancel on the morning of the show. But Lutoslawski, recovering from an operation, sent word that he was 'definitely on the mend'.

As is the way of events geared to television, the evening had its lacunae and longueurs - all destined to disappear in making Saturday's broadcast go with a swing. It had its memorable happenings too, some of the best quite unpredictable. The audience responded with remarkable warmth to the presence of Gorecki, who is able to accept this new-found adulation with a candid, disarming air of mixed delight and detachment. The award for an unwell Yuri Bashmet was accepted by Lillian Tertis, the widow of Lionel Tertis, the player who single- handedly gave the viola a new prominence in 20th-century music- making; her husband, she said, would have been glad of the way Bashmet kept the instrument's flag flying.

If there had been an award for soundbite of the year, the pioneering Kronos Quartet would have walked away with it. In their short video profile players said 'there's nowhere to 'cross over' to, because music is a spectrum of possibilities' and pronounced that 'most politicians are afraid of music and creativity, and that's precisely where we start'. They dedicated their award to the 'hundreds' of living composers who have made the quartet what they are.

'We are here to stay,' was the verdict of Andreas Whittam Smith on the awards process. No doubt there will be more developments next time. The critic John Rockwell, a jury member, thought the involvement of the jury in making the initial nominations had produced more adventurous ideas than a trawl of the industry. But he felt a larger jury would help to increase further the breadth of activities.

And there, no doubt, is the way ahead. Not so long ago the idea that wide audiences might enjoy new works alongside the classics seemed like a fantasy - far too specialist. Now that those barriers are falling, others come into sight: between opera and dance, ancient and modern, West and East, music played from scores and music improvised on the spot. It all sounds unlikely for now, but who is to say where we will be in a decade's time? Watch this space.

In association with Kenwood, supported by BBC Music Magazine and the Independent

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'