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
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
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.

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral