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DECCA artists Riccardo Chailly and Leonidas Kavakos take home top prizes at Gramophone Awards 2014

Riccardo Chailly wins Recording of the Year and Orchestral Award for Brahms symphony cycle with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Leonidas Kavakos crowned Artist of the Year in international public vote

Decca artists Riccardo Chailly and Leonidas Kavakos are honoured at the Gramophone Awards 2014, winning Recording of the Year and Artist of the Year respectively at the ‘Oscars’ of classical music in London.

Both musicians were at the ceremony at St John’s Smith Square, where Chailly – recovering from a broken arm – also accepted the Orchestral Award for his monumental cycle of Brahms’s four symphonies with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. The Symphonies will be released on Pure Audio (Blu-ray disc) on 22 September on Decca Classics.

Paul Moseley, Managing Director Decca Classics, says: ‘Decca is thrilled for both Riccardo and Leonidas that they have been honoured in this way by Gramophone magazine. Riccardo has been exclusively with Decca for over 30 years and with the Gewandhausorchester is in the form of his life, while Leonidas joined us much more recently but has also been at the top of his profession for a generation or more. We look forward to more exciting projects with both of them.’

The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig – the world’s oldest orchestra – cherishes its historical ties to Brahms. The composer himself conducted the orchestra for the Leipzig premieres of his first, second and third symphonies, as well as the world premieres of several other landmark pieces, making this a fitting homage to the great composer.

James Jolly, Editor-in-Chief of Gramophone magazine, says: ‘Riccardo Chailly can be guaranteed to make us listen anew to the classics of the repertoire, and this Brahms set is no exception. With the Gewandhausorchester on magnificent form, this is a recording that epitomises classical music’s way of reinventing itself and staying relevant to every generation.’

Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos was present to collect his Artist of the Year Award, decided through an international public vote, of which James Jolly said: ‘Unusually Leonidas Kavakos has had to wait 23 years since his first Gramophone Award (Sibelius's Violin Concerto in its original version back in 1991). This Award, made by public vote, honours a musician in his prime who is in demand the world over and who has given us notable recordings of the Brahms Violin Concerto, Beethoven violin sonatas and the three Brahms sonatas (all for Decca).’ He was presented his award by last year’s Artist of the Year, trumpeter Alison Balsom.

Elsewhere, musical legend, conductor Sir Neville Marriner, in his 90th birthday year, was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award, created especially for him. Of his award, which was presented to him by the great pianist Alfred Brendel, James Jolly said: ‘Sir Neville Marriner – whose work is synonymous with the Academy of St Martin the Fields which he founded over half a century ago – has enriched the recording catalogue like few other conductors. Always a stylish and vibrant interpreter of music from the Baroque to the present day, Sir Neville's recordings must surely feature in every music-lover's collection.’ Decca Classics recently released a 28-CD box set ‘Neville Marriner: The Argo Years’.