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News 2015


15. October 2015


BIS congratulates
Svante Henryson, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, who has been awarded the 2015 Nordic Council Music Prize in recognition of ‘his unique creativity and virtuosity to a range of genres during what has been a fascinating and varied career’. Svante Henryson started out playing double bass in the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, went on to play bass guitar in Yngwie Malmsteen’s rock band and then embarked on a highly personal exploration of classical cello music. A long-time musical partner of several BIS artists – Anne Sofie von Otter, Malena Ernman, Mats Bergström, Roland Pöntinen ... – Henryson appears on Martin Fröst’s disc Fröst and Friends (BIS-1823) as cellist and composer. Together with his wife, Katarina Henryson, Svante has also released the new album High, Low or In Between, with jazz and pop standards as well as original material. The Nordic Council Music Prize was presented at an award ceremony in Reykjavik on Iceland yesterday.

  • For more information about the Nordic Council Music Prize, click here
  • For more information about Svante Henryson, click here
  • For details about High, Low or In Between (BIS-2136), click here

17. February 2014

spacerFirst Digital Release

The first digital-only album from BIS is now available as a download from our partner-site eClassical.com. It is an original BIS recording from April 2013 of Thomas Adès's violin concerto ’Concentric Paths’, a modern classic performed by the acclaimed Norwegian violinist Peter Herresthal and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under Andrew Manze. In conjunction with the release of the album (BIS-8003), we publish ’A Chat in the Park’, a video clip of the composer and the performers discussing the work with music journalist Tom Service


27. January 2014

spacerA Grammy for BIS

As announced yesterday at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the BIS recording by Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä of Jean Sibelius’s First and Fourth Symphonies (produced by Robert Suff and engineered by Jens Braun) has received a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

spacerRobert von Bahr, founder and CEO of BIS Records, comments:

We are especially pleased to receive the label’s first-ever Grammy Award in a repertoire which is particularly central to the label, and for a partnership, with Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, that has resulted in many fine recordings (including two previous GRAMMY nominations), and which in the case of Vänskä has lasted for close to 30 years.

Among earlier recordings by Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra on BIS is a highly praised Beethoven symphony cycle and a disc with Sibelius’s Second and Fifth Symphonies. All of these recordings, as well as the Grammy Award winning disc, have been produced by Robert Suff, who has collaborated with Osmo Vänskä on BIS projects since 1992.

We also wish to congratulate the vocal ensemble New York Polyphony for the nomination in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category for their disc Times go by Turns, with masses by Tallis, Byrd and John Plummer.

  • For information about the winning disc, click here
  • For information about other Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä releases on BIS, click here
  • For information about New York Polyphony and Times go by Turns, click here
  • For a listing of all of the winners and nominees of the 56th GRAMMY Awards, visit the official GRAMMY homepage

21. January 2014

A no-holds-barred account…

is how the jury describes the performance by São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Frank Shipway of Richard Strauss’s Alpensinfonie, one of three nominees in the orchestral category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014:

‘This blistering, no-holds-barred account of Strauss’s musical mountain-climb thoroughly captured the jury’s imagination. It is not only a timely arrival for the Strauss anniversary of 2014 but also celebrates the red-hot playing of an orchestra from the rapidly ‘emerging’ Brazil and, not least, Frank Shipway, an undersung hero of British conducting.’

The final selection of the winners is made through a voting procedure open to music lovers around the world at the magazine’s web site.

Released in September 2013, the disc (BIS-1950) opens with the monumental Alpine Symphony, but also includes the substantial Symphonic Fantasy from the opera Die Frau ohne Schatten.

  • For further information about the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014, and in order to vote on your favourite, click here
  • For further information about the nominated disc (BIS-1950), click here

20. January 2014

Best Collection

Frank Peter Zimmermann’s widely acclaimed recording of violin works by Paul Hindemith (BIS-2024) has been chosen as ‘Best Collection’ by the jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA). In a programme which includes the composer’s Violin Concerto, three sonatas for violin and piano and Sonata for Solo Violin, Op.31 No.2, Zimmermann is joined by Enrico Pace, piano, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paavo Järvi. The disc has previously received a ‘Clef d’or 2013’ by the web site ResMusica, and the prestigious Jahrespreis from the German Record Critics' Award Association, as well being selected for special mention by magazines such as International Record Review (‘IRR Outstanding’), Fono Forum (‘Empfehlung des Monats’), Diapason (Diapasond’Or’) and Gramophone (‘Gramophone Choice’). The ICMA Award Ceremony will be held during a Gala Concert on 12 April 12 at the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, as part of this year’s Beethoven Easter Festival.

  • For further information about the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA), click here
  • For details about ‘Hindemith – Violin Sonatas and Concerto’ (BIS-2024), click here

26. November 2013

Doing the Rounds

Released a few months ago, Sharon Bezaly’s latest disc is causing reviewers around the world to search for superlatives. On Great works for Flute and Orchestra (BIS-1679 SACD) she combines Carl Nielsen’s concerto – one of the undisputed pinnacles of the flute repertoire – with that of Carl Reinecke, as well as the Concertino by Cécile Chaminade and pieces by Poulenc, Charles Griffes and Tchaikovsky. In its November issue, Gramophone name the disc a ‘Gramophone Choice’ and International Record Guide has awarded it its ‘IRR Outstanding’ accolade, both reviewers singling out the Nielsen Concerto for, to quote Gramophone, ‘the supreme artistry that Sharon Bezaly brings to it, both in terms of deft, discerningly harnessed virtuosity and in her supple, sinuous shaping of the music...' In Germany, the reviewers in Fono Forum and Klassik-Heute describe Bezaly as ‘fabulous’ and ‘fantastic’, going on to also recognize the expert support she recives from Residentie Orkest Den Haag under Neeme Järvi . Meanwhile their French colleague in Diapason praises the team’s performance of Poulenc’s well-loved Flute Sonata in the orchestration by Lennox Berkeley, finding that ‘the highly lyric, eloquent and well-defined interpretation raises the arrangement almost to the level of the original.’.

  • For more information about Sharon Bezaly, click here

12. April 2013

Frankfurter Musikpreis

The 2013 Frankfurter Musikpreis has been awarded to the highly respected German horn player Marie-Luise Neunecker at a ceremony at the Römer, Frankfurt’s city hall, on 12 April. This prestigious award is presented annually during the international Frankfurt Music Fair for special achievements in the fields of interpretation, composition, musicology or teaching.

In alternate years the winners of the Frankfurt Music Prize are chosen from the fields of classical music or pop and jazz. Marie-Luise Neunecker, this year’s recipient, has been chosen for her broad spectrum of musical interests and activities, and for her work in passing on her knowledge to a new generation of musicians. Involving a prize sum of € 15,000, the Frankfurt Music Prize is sponsored by the Federal Association of German Musical Instrument Manufacturers and Messe Frankfurt. At the prize ceremony Marie-Luise Neunecker performed Brahms’s Trio in E flat major, Op.40, with two of her regular chamber music partners, the violinist Antje Weithaas and the pianist Silke Avenhaus. The three of them have also recorded the work, together with György Ligeti’s work for the same forces, on a highly acclaimed BIS disc, BIS-1859.

  • For more information about Marie-Luise Neunecker, click here
  • For details about the Brahms Trio recording, click here

11. April 2013

Trio Awarded

One of the most prestigious British record awards goes to Trio Zimmermann for their recording of Beethoven's string trios Op.9. At a ceremony held at King's Place in London on 9 April, the Trio was announced as the winner in the chamber music category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards. The Beethoven disc (BIS-1857) was one of three discs nominated by a jury from the BBC Music Magazine, after which visitors to the magazine's web site were invited to vote for their favourite candidate to the award.

Trio Zimmermann consists of Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello); three eminent musicians with blossoming solo careers who have been collaborating regularly since 2007 to explore the string trio medium. Their first recording, also for BIS, was of Mozart's Divertimento in E flat major, K 563, one of the absolute pinnacles of the genre. Released in 2012, the present disc with Beethoven's three string trios Op.9 has met with acclaim worldwide, previously receiving distinctions such as a Diapason d'Or de l'année 2012 from the French magazine Diapason, and the inclusion by the German Record Critics' Award Association on the first Bestenliste (‘Quarterly Critics' Choice’) of 2012.

  • For details about Trio Zimmermann and their recordings on BIS, click here
  • For more information about the BBC Music Awards, click here

19. March 2013

Awards for BIS

At the Gala Concert of the 2013 International Classical Music Awards, BIS founder Robert von Bahr was honoured with a Special Achievement Award for having made BIS a label to be reckoned with during the 40 years of its existence. The citation from the jury of ICMA – consisting of 17 members from 12 countries – reads as follows:

Robert von Bahr founded BIS Records in 1973 with the aim of helping world-class Swedish musicians to reach an worldwide audience. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of artists and the repertoire, the focus of the label became rapidly more international. Today the richness of the BIS catalogue, which includes many award-winning discs, is a tribute to the qualities of this exceptional man of music.

At the ceremony, which was held in Milan on the 17 March, Robert von Bahr also accepted an award for Concerto Disc of the Year, on behalf of the clarinettist Martin Fröst, who was praised in the jury’s citation:

In these outstanding performances the Swedish clarinet player Martin Fröst offers another impressive demonstration of his wide-ranging virtuosity and musical souplesse. He builds around the Copland Clarinet Concerto an unusual programme of works related to dance: Klezmer, Tango, Hungarian dances by Brahms, but also contemporary dances by Lutoslawski and Fröst’s compatriots Hillborg and Högberg.

On ‘Dances to a Black Pipe’ (BIS-1863) Fröst appears with Australian Chamber Orchestra and the orchestra’s leader and artistic director Richard Tognetti.

  • Read more about ICMA and the 2013 awards here
  • Read more about Dances to a Black Pipe (BIS-1863) here

07. February 2013

Fröst to receive the 2014
Léonie Sonning Music Award

The clarinettist Martin Fröst has been announced as the next recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, one of the oldest and most prestigious music awards in the world. Since 1959, the Danish Sonning Music Prize has been presented to the leading musical personalities of their day, including Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Miles Davis, Alfred Brendel, Keith Jarrett and Isaac Stern. Martin Fröst is, besides Birgit Nilsson (1966) and Eric Ericson (1991), the only Swede to receive this international award. The most recent recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize is Sir Simon Rattle, who is the prize winner for 2013 and received his award in Copenhagen last weekend

For Martin Fröst to be admitted in this manner to the company of some of the foremost figures in music during the past fifty years is a tremendous honour, and also a recognition of his unique artistry and pioneering musical activities.

The Léonie Sonning Music Prize consists of the sum of 80.000 Euro, and will be presented at a gala concert in Copenhagen during the spring of 2014. In their deliberations, the directors of the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation are charged with the task of selecting a candidate who ranks among the best in his or her field and is likely to remain so in the future.

Congratulating Martin warmly on this great award, Robert von Bahr, president of BIS Records adds:
'For me personally it is gratifying in the extreme to have been able to first sniff out and then follow this musical wonder from his very first steps in the recording field to the superstar that he is now, mesmerising audiences wherever he appears, as clarinettist, arranger/composer, festival director and, more and more frequently, as conducting soloist.’

  • For more information about Sonning Music Foundation, click here
  • For information about Martin Fröst, click here
  • For details about Dances to a Black Pipe (BIS-1863 SACD), click here
  • For a brief interview and video clips from the recording of the disc, click here

01. February 2013

BIS congratulates…
clarinettist Martin Fröst and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whose imaginative disc Dances to a Black Pipe has been named Concerto Disc of the year by the International Classical Music Awards, ICMA. The programme of the disc takes in composers as diverse as Copland, Brahms, Piazzolla and Anders Hillborg – a wide-ranging selection of works which are all related to dance. Fröst chose to record these pieces with the incomparable Australian Chamber Orchestra, described by the Washington Post as combining 'the energy and vibe of a rock band with the ability of a crack classical chamber group.'

The ICMA awards ceremony will be held in Milan, Italy, on 18 March, an event which also includes a gala concert broadcast through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The award for Dances to a Black Pipe will be accepted by Robert von Bahr, president and founder of BIS Records, who on this occasion will also be receiving a Special Achievement Award.

  • For more information about ICMA, click here
  • For information about Martin Fröst, click here
  • For details about Dances to a Black Pipe (BIS-1863 SACD), click here
  • For a brief interview and video clips from the recording of the disc, click here

31. January 2013

The Saga Continues…
with a BBC Music Magazine Award nomination for Trio Zimmermann, the star-studded ensemble which recently received a Diapason de l’Année for their disc of Beethoven’s String Trios Op.9. Consisting of Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello), the trio constantly impresses reviewers worldwide with performances of the highest quality. The jury of the BBC Music Magazine has now selected the trio’s latest disc as one of the three best chamber music recordings of 2012, nominating it for the magazine’s annual award. In its citation for the disc the award jury writes.

‘Beethoven’s Op. 9 dazzling String Trios were as revealing of the young composer’s talent as they are exposing for performers. With just three instruments and no piano, intricate contrapuntal writing was essential, and every note counted. And so it does with Zimmermann and co.: they know when to go to the edge and when to use the lightest of touches. The ensemble is breathtaking and their blend of timbres compels, from densely textured to shimmering transparency.’

The final selection of the winners is made through a voting procedure open to music lovers around the world at the magazine’s web site, and the results will be announced at a ceremony on 9th April at Kings Place in London.

  • For further information about the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013, and in order to vote on your favourites, click here
  • For further information about Trio Zimmermann and their recordings on BIS, click here

08. January 2013

Sibelius Rewarded
Describing it as ‘a discographical tour de force of the highest quality’, the German Record Critics' Award Association rewards the BIS SIBELIUS EDITION its prestigious Annual Award (‘Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’). Launched in 2007, the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death, the SIBELIUS EDITION includes all the music the composer ever wrote: youthful works, sketches and first versions rubbing shoulders with the undisputed masterpieces. More than 80 hours of music is distributed over 68 discs released in 13 thematically ordered boxes. The SIBELIUS EDITION has received unprecedented acclaim and recognition, including a ‘Special Achievement Award’ at the 2011 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

  • For information about the Sibelius Edition, click here
  • For further information about the ‘Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’, click here

19. December 2012

Sibelius Nominated
As recently announced, Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra have received a Grammy nomination for their recording of Sibelius’ Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5. Released in January 2012, the disc is the first in a projected Sibelius cycle with the orchestra and Vänskä, and has met with great acclaim worldwide, with Gramophone magazine describing it as ‘a fine start to what may be the benchmark cycle for the 21st century.’ The second instalment, with the composer’s First and Fourth Symphony (catalogue number BIS-1996 SACD), is scheduled for release in March 2013, soon after the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the 10th of February. Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra previously received a Grammy nomination for their recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (BIS-1616 SACD) released in 2006.

  • For further information about releases with Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra on BIS, click here
  • For information about the 55th GRAMMY nominations, click here
  • For a YouTube clip made during the recording of the nominated disc, click here

19. December 2012

The Nominees Are...
The jury of the Swedish record industry’s annual ’Grammis’ award has just announced the nominees from the 2012 crop of recordings, and among them is the disc Trollfågeln (’The Magic Bird’) with and by the nyckelharpa player Emilia Amper. Released in November 2012, the disc has already been hailed by the influential Swedish reviewer Jan Gradvall as ’one of the musical highpoints of the year’, with ’the most surprising, daring and beautiful opening of any disc this year.’ Trollfågeln is Emilia Amper’s first solo disc, and for it she has devised a programme which is based in Swedish folk music but combines tradition with spontaneous improvisation in her own compositions and arrangements.

  • For more information about Trollfågeln, click here
  • Read Jan Gradvall’s review in Dagens Industri (in Swedish) here

23. November 2012

Five Times Lucky
For the fifth year in a row a BIS release has been awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or de l’Année award. In the 2012 edition of the award, it is Trio Zimmermann’s recording of Beethoven’s String Trios Op.9 that has been chosen as one of the finest chamber music discs of the year, by a jury comprising critics from the French magazine Diapason and broadcasters from the public radio station France Musique. The award ceremony was held on 19th November at Maison de Radio France in Paris, and broadcast on France Musique the following day. Accepting the award on behalf of the Trio Zimmermann was Antoine Tamestit, the viola player of the ensemble, which also includes Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin, and Christian Poltéra, cello.

The collaboration between BIS and Trio Zimmermann began in 2010 with an acclaimed recording of Mozart’s Divertimento, K563, and will continue with the two trios Opp.3 and 8 by Beethoven, to be recorded in June 2013. In 2013 BIS will also have the pleasure of releasing two solo projects with Frank Peter Zimmermann, including Hindemith’s music for violin and Brett Dean’s acclaimed concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing.

  • For more information about Trio Zimmermann’s Beethoven recording (BIS-SACD-1857), please here
  • For more information about the 2012 edition of Diapason d’Or de l’Année, visit the website of Diapason
  • Or listen to the broadcast on the website of Radio France (Avalaible until 20 December 2012.)

Previous BIS titles to have received the prestigious award include:

  • 2011: Sibelius: Tapiola etc., performed by Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Okko Kamu - BIS-SACD-1945
  • 2011: Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 etc, performed by Vadim Gluzman and Bergen Phiharmonic Orchestra / Andrew Litton - BIS-SACD-1852
  • 2010: Bach: Motets, performed by Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki - BIS-SACD-1841
  • 2009: Villa-Lobos: Choros Nos 1-12, performed by various soloists and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) / John Neschling - BIS-CDs-1440 / 1450 / 1520
  • 2008: Bach, Mass in B minor, performed by Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki - BIS-SACD-1701/02

12. November 2012

BIS congratulates
violinist Ulf Wallin, who has recently been announced as the recipient of the 2013 Robert Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau. This prestigious prize is awarded biennially, ‘to outstanding conductors, instrumentalists, singers, musical groups or institutions in German or international musical life, and musicologists or research institutions who are worthy of recognition either for having promoted the music of Robert Schumann or for having conducted research into his life and work.’ Previous winners include musicians such as Daniel Barenboim, Steven Isserlis, Alfred Brendel, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and, most recently, the pianist András Schiff. Ulf Wallin is the second violinist in the history of the award to have been honoured by the Robert Schumann Society of Zwickau, which emphasizes his recent, highly acclaimed recordings on BIS of the composer’s complete sonatas and concertante works for the violin in its citation. Wallin shares the 2013 Robert Schumann Prize with the musicologist Jon Finson (USA). The award ceremony will take place in the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau in June 2013.

  • For further information about the Robert Schumann Prize, please click here (in English) or here (in German)
  • For information about Ulf Wallin, please click here
  • See details about Ulf Wallin’s Schumann recordings here

10. October 2012

A Warm Welcome
... to the eminent British pianist Jonathan Plowright, who soon releases his first disc on BIS. Plowright has been hailed as ‘one of the finest living pianists’ by Gramophone magazine, and is particularly renowned for his interpretations of the Romantic repertoire. The new Plowright-BIS collaboration begins in a grand manner with two landmarks of the 19th-century solo piano literature, Johannes Brahms’ monumental Piano Sonata No.3 in F minor and the celebrated Handel Variations. The recording took place in August 2011, and is being released as a Hybrid SACD, providing the option of listening to Jonathan Plowright’s authoritative and idiomatic performances in Surround Sound.

The disc is being released in December 2012 with the catalogue number BIS-2047. For national release dates, please contact the BIS distributor in your country.

23. April 2012

Bach Medal for Masaaki Suzuki
The Leipzig Bach Archive has recently announced that Masaaki Suzuki is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Bach Medal. The medal is awarded by the city of Leipzig, and will be presented to Suzuki on June 8, at a ceremony during the Leipzig Bach Festival. The Bach Medal is awarded annually since 2003 to musicians whose work focuses on Bach in a significant way. A unanimous jury voted in favour of the founder and long-time director of the first Japanese ensemble for historically informed performance practice, the Bach Collegium Japan. The jury decision states that Suzuki has “created an awareness for a scientifically and historically oriented performance practice in Japan and the entire Asian region”. Previous recipients include names such as Gustav Leonhardt (2003), Ton Koopman (2006), Philippe Herreweghe (2010) and Herbert Blomstedt (2011).

Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan will be participating at the Leipzig Bach Festival, performing the St. Matthew Passion.

  • For further information about the Leipzig Bach Medal, click here
  • For information about Masaaki Suzuki and his recordings on BIS, click here

9. March 2012

Bach for Japan
In commemoration of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and earthquake, Bach Collegium Japan and BIS are releasing the disc Bach for Japan. As Masaaki Suzuki writes in his introduction to the disc, the arias and instrumental movements from the Bach Collegium Japan recordings of Bach’s cantatas were selected ‘in the hope that the music will offer consolation to those who have suffered bereavement, help to heal their hurt, and give them the strength to rebuild the country for the next generation’. The programme also includes new recordings of Suzuki performing three organ preludes, and ends with the motet Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV229.

Produced at the initiative of the Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki as part of their ongoing activities to support the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, this disc is sold for the benefit of TOHOKU HELP, the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network. The Bach Collegium Japan is donating its royalties for ‘Bach for Japan’, with BIS Records contributing the same amount, to be paid in full to TOHOKU HELP.

Listen on YouTube to 'Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ' (BWV639) played by Masaaki Suzuki, organ

Available for download from eClassical.com

  • For more details about the disc Bach for Japan,
    BIS-CD-2011, click here
  • For information about Bach Collegium Japan, click here
  • For information about the relief initiative Tohoku Help, click here

17. January 2012

Laurels for Hillborg
Released in July 2011, Eleven Gates - a disc of four orchestral works by Anders Hillborg, performed by the Royal Stockholm PO under three eminent conductors - has gone the rounds receiving praise from reviewers all over the world. These have remarked on the composer's 'remarkable imagination' and 'raffinierte und effektvolle Orchestersprache', the 'splendid form' demonstrated by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the 'beautifully balanced and remarkably natural SACD recording'. Yet another seal of approval came on the 14. February, as Eleven Gates was designated Classical Disc of the Year at the annual Swedish 'Grammis' award ceremony. The ceremony, which was broadcast on Swedish national television, was held at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. The award was presented to the composer and a representative of the orchestra, who accepted it bringing greetings from the three conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert and Sakari Oramo.

  • For further information about Eleven Gates, BIS-SACD-1406, click here

17. February 2012

Simply the Best
The star-studded Trio Zimmermann’s recent release of Beethoven’s String Trios Op.9 is receiving unanimous praise from the international reviewers. Chosen by the German Record Critics' Award Association as the chamber music title on the first Bestenliste (‘Quarterly Critics' Choice’) of 2012, the disc has been awarded a Diapason d’Or as well as a Choc de Classica in France, and been selected Recording of the Month in BBC Music Magazine. Meanwhile, the German website klassik-heute.de gives the recording top marks (‘10/10/10’) and the reviewer in International Record Review places Trio Zimmermann’s recording of Beethoven’s trios ‘at the top of a distinguished list.’ The trio consists of Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello), who have previously recorded Mozart’s great Divertimento in E flat major, K563 – a disc which made a similar impression on reviewers when it was released in November 2010.

  • For further information about Beethoven Trios Op. 9 (BIS-SACD-1857), click here

20. December 2011

Beginning … and end
‘My end is my beginning, and my beginning my end’ – with those words the four members of New York Polyphony end a programme which explores the themes of grief, loss and mortality. Apart from the closing paraphrase by Jackson Hill (b.1942) on Guillaume de Machaut’s famous 14th-century rondeau Ma fin est mon commencement, the music included on endBeginning (BIS-SACD-1949) was composed by masters of the Franco-Flemish school of polyphony active in the first half of the 16th century. Formed in 2006, New York Polyphony is establishing a reputation as an exceptionally fine vocal chamber ensemble. In October 2011, the four members visited the 14th-century church of Länna in Sweden, and its superb acoustics, ideally suited for this kind of repertoire. During the recording a video was made with clips from the sessions, as well as interviews with the performers.

(Full-size version on YouTube)

The disc is planned for release in early spring 2012 – for national release dates, please contact the BIS distributor in your country. The recording is already available for downloading on eClassical.com.

20. December 2011

An EMMA for Isola
Three orchestral works by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund (b.1972) form the programme of this disc: Isola, Partita and the Clarinet Concerto. In these performances by the clarinettist Christoffer Sundqvist and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk, Fagerlund’s music has been highly acclaimed in the international music press, as demonstrated by the review in BBC Music Magazine: ‘the strong sense of momentum, the feeling for how musical currents shift and blend as well as power forward, plus the unmistakable (and often impassioned) nature imagery, suggest a composer who can side with his great countryman Sibelius...’ The French website ResMusica greeted Fagerlund as the ‘new leading light of Finnish music’, and his countrymen in the EMMA jury now praise his works ‘for their powerful orchestrations, tone colours and catching rhythms’, finding in them influences of impressionism, Stravinsky and Sibelius, which however never overshadows ‘a strong, personal voice’. The jury also acknowledges the important contribution made by the performers.

The EMMA Award for Best classical recording was presented on 1st December at a ceremony in Espoo, Finland, organized by the Finnish branch of IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).

  • For further information about the EMMA Award, click here
  • For further information about Isola (BIS-SACD-1707), click here

17. November 2011

Twice Rewarded
Of the twelve discs featured at the award ceremony held at the Maison de Radio France in Paris on the 17th of November, two were BIS titles: Vadim Gluzman’s recording of Bruch’s first violin concerto, with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton, and a Sibelius recording of Tapiola and the two suites from the Tempest with Okko Kamu conducting the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. The Diapason d’or de l’année are the annual awards presented by the French magazine Diapason in collaboration with the radio channel France Musique , and the jury which selects the winning discs is made up of the critics and broadcasters of the two. When reviewed in the magazine earlier this year, the Bruch disc was provided with a caution: ‘Attention: exceptional talent’, and Vadim Gluzman was credited for ‘breathing new life into a certain golden age of the violin… through his lustrous violin sound, his unapologetic panache, his straightforward subtlety…’

In the case of the Sibelius recording, the conductor Okko Kamu was greeted as ‘one of the greatest of Sibelius conductors’, a description which was borne out by ‘this Tapiola of an elemental force, this Tempest of startling moods’.


  • Read more about the 2011 Diapason d’Or de l’Année awards here
  • For information about Vadim Gluzman’s Bruch recording, BIS-SACD-1852, click here
  • For information about Okko Kamu’s Sibelius recording, BIS-SACD-1945, click here

16. November 2011

No Mere Trifles
Ronald Brautigam’s cycle of Beethoven’s solo piano music has received consistent praise from the reviewers, who find that the performances, on copies of fortepianos from Beethoven’s own time, offer an opportunity to hear this well-known music in a new light. Following the 32 numbered sonatas and the early sonatas and sonatinas, the cycle enters its second stage - and the acclaim continues! The recently-released ‘Volume 10: The Complete Bagatelles’ has been included on the prestigious ‘Bestenliste’ of the German Record Critics' Award Association with the following citation from the jury:

‘Here Beethoven was able to give free rein to his sense of humour, his flashes of inspiration, and it is precisely this fundamental trait of these experiments – which range from the sensitive to the sarcastic – which Brautigam brings out with excitement and energy, and with a masterly instinct for the wealth of colour, the wide range of touch and the astounding sonic potentials of the two fortepianos from 1805 and 1820. The result is that his ‘historic’ Beethoven sounds more modern, more subversive and at the same time more tender than that of most Steinway pianists.’

Consisting of up to 145 music critics, writers, musicologists and editors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the German Record Critics' Award Association publishes its ‘Bestenliste’ four times a year. These lists include the very finest of all the CDs and DVDs released during the preceding three months, divided up in 29 categories which range from orchestral recordings to contemporary jazz and crossover.

‘The Complete Bagatelles’ [BIS-SACD-1882] will be followed in early 2012 by the release of the first of four discs with piano variations.

  • For further information about the Bestenliste, click here
  • For information about Ronald Brautigam’s Beethoven piano cycle, click here

4. October 2011

’Two superb works…’
Released in April 2010, the BIS recording of James MacMillan’s Sun-Dogs and Visitatio Sepulchri (BIS-SACD-1719) has received a warm welcome world-wide, with reviewers remarking both on the impact of the music and the examplary performances. ‘A fine coupling of two superb works, a credit to performers and to the BIS recording engineers, who offer sound both clear and atmospheric’ was for instance how the disc was summed up in a review in Gramophone. The disc is now among the three titles shortlisted in the choral category of the 2011 Gramophone Awards, with the winner being announced at a ceremony held on October 6 at Dorchester Hotel in London.

The two virtuosic works are examples of James MacMillan’s mastery in the field of choral music, the first composed for choir a cappella and the second with orchestral accompaniment. Conducted by Celso Antunes (in Sun-Dogs) and the composer (in Visitatio), the Netherlands Radio Choir once again gives proof of why it belongs to the most highly respected choral ensembles today.

—   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —

The prestigious Gramophone Awards comprises 15 different categories, and among the six nominations for the Orchestral Award was another high profile BIS release: the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra’s recording of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka, conducted by Andrew Litton (BIS-SACD-1474), a disc which has made its mark in a crowded discography.

  • Read more about the 2011 Gramophone Awards here
  • For information about BIS-SACD-1719 (MacMillan), click here
  • For information about BIS-SACD-1474 (Stravinsky,click here

8. September 2011

Polyphonic excellence
Male classical vocal quartet New York Polyphony, who received international acclaim with the CDs I sing the birth (2007) and Tudor City (2010), has signed an exclusive recording contract with BIS Records. Slated for Spring 2012 release, their first album on BIS will feature rare and never-before recorded works from the Flemish Renaissance by composers Thomas Crecquillon, Antoine Brumel and Jacob Clemens non Papa.

Founded in 2006, New York Polyphony has emerged as one of the preeminent vocal chamber ensembles in the fields of early and new music. Praised for a “rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts” (National Public Radio), the four men scored a hit with their current CD Tudor City, spending three weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard magazine's classical album chart.

In February of this year, New York Polyphony signed a worldwide general management contract with Opus 3 Artists. The ensemble maintains an active performing schedule and has participated in major concert series and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Miller Theatre Early Music Series at Columbia University, Dallas Chamber Music Series, Ireland’s Pipeworks and Ardee Baroque Festivals, and the Vestfold Festspillene in Tønsberg, Norway. Future engagements include the premiere of Gregory Brown's Missa Charles Darwin, a secular Mass setting based on Darwin's On The Origin Of Species; a residency at Dartmouth College November 2011 and an appearance at the Festival de Música de Morelia, Mexico.

For more information, please visit:

14. April 2011

On the Home Stretch
With the penultimate volume being released in April, the Sibelius Edition on BIS is nearing completion. But already before that happy day, an international jury has named it 'a landmark in the composer's discography, giving it a Special Achievement Award, as part of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA). The winners of the ICM Awards are selected by a jury made up of professional music critics of some of the most important magazines, online services and radio stations in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Luxembourg, France, Spain and Finland. The winners will receive their trophies at an award ceremony held in Tampere, Finland on April 6. The event includes a gala concert during which Folke Gräsbeck, a driving force behind the BIS Sibelius Edition, will play Sibelius' Piano Quintet in a newly realized transcription, together with the strings of the Tampere Philharmonic. The concert will be broadcast by the Finnish Radio, Germany's MDR Figaro, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Luxembourg's Radio 100,7, the Russian Orpheus Radio and other partners of the European Broadcast Union.

  • For further information about the International Classical Music Awards, please visit the ICMA website www.icma-info.com
  • For further information about the Sibelius Edition, please click here

BIS discs nominated to the 2011 International Classical Music Awards:

J.H. Roman: Drottningholmsmusiken
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra / A. Manze

Handel: Neun deutsche Arien; Gloria
Emma Kirkby, London Baroque

The Queen's Music - Italian vocal duets and trios
Emma Kirkby, Susanne Rydén, Peter Harvey; M. Yamahiro Brinkmann, cello, L.U. Mortensen, harps.

J. S. Bach: Motets
Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

Weiss: Lute Music
Jakob Lindberg, lute

Haydn - Sonatas No. 47, 60, 53 etc
Yevgeny Sudbin, piano

Britten: String Quartets
Emperor Quartet

Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14; Bernstein: Serenade; Bloch, E: Baal Shem
Vadim Gluzman, violin; São Paulo SO / J. Neschling

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4
Ronald Brautigam, piano; Norrköping SO / Parrott

Prokofiev: Piano concertos Nos 2 & 4
Freddy Kempf, piano; Bergen Philharmonic Orch. / A.Litton.

F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / A. Litton

Pettersson: Concerto for String Orchestra No. 3
Nordic Chamber Orchestra / C. Lindberg

Schubert: Symphonies Nos 8 and 9
Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Tomas Dausgaard

Villa-Lobos: Floresta do Amazonas.
A.Korondi, mezzo-soprano; São Paulo Symphony Orch. & Chorus / J. Neschling

Eino Tamberg: Joanna Tentata; Danses symphoniques; Concerto grosso
Residentie Orkest den Haag / N.Järvi.

Dutilleux: Tout un monde lontain, Lutoslawski: Cello Concerto
C. Poltéra, cello; ORF Wien / J. van Steen

14. April 2011

Brilliant Illumination
Bach Collegium Japan's recording of Bach's complete motets was nominated to the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Awards by a jury of the magazine's reviewers with the following remark: 'Suzuki and his choir brilliantly illuminate this most virtuosic of Bach's choral works.' Clearly the general public agreed with the jury, as the voting which took place on the magazine's website earlier in the year resulted in a BBC Music Magazine Award in the choral category, as revealed at an Awards ceremony held in London on the 12th of April. Unable to attend in person Masaaki Suzuki, director of Bach Collegium Japan, sent an acceptance video which was shown during the ceremony, and which also can be seen here.

The highly acclaimed disc was released in January 2010 and has received international recognition, including a Diapason d'Or de l'Année from the French magazine Diapason and the German Record Critics' Annual Award as well as a recommendation in Gramophone and top marks from numerous international music magazines and web sites.

  • For further information about Bach’s Motets,
    BIS-SACD-1841, please click here
  • For a video clip made during the recording of this disc, please click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by the Bach Collegium Japan on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by Masaaki Suzuki on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of Bach Cantatas (released as of today), click here

24. January 2011

Vote for BCJ
Bach Collegium Japan’s highly acclaimed recording of J.S. Bach’s Motets has already received some of the finest distinctions a disc can get, including a Diapason d’Or de l’Année from the French magazine Diapason and the German Record Critics’ Annual Award as well as a recommendation in Gramophone and top marks from numerous international music magazines and web sites. The jury of BBC Music Magazine reviewers which selected the disc as one of three nominees in the Choral category explained its choice as follows: ’Suzuki and his choir brilliantly illuminate this most virtuosic of Bach’s choral works.’ The magazine now invites the public to make the final decisions regarding the winner of this and five other categories, providing an opportunity to listen to selected complete tracks from some of the finest discs released during 2010. So click here: http://www.classical-music.com/awards2011 to enjoy the music, cast your vote – and enter into the BBC Music Magazine’s prize draw to win a high-end hi-fi, plus a copy of each of the 18 nominated discs. And do it now – the voting ends 1 March 2011.

  • For further information about Bach’s Motets, BIS-SACD-1841, please click here
  • For a video clip made during the recording of this disc, please click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by the Bach Collegium Japan on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by Masaaki Suzuki on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of Bach Cantatas (released as of today), click here

News 2010

17. November 2010

’Une énergie toute lumineuse’
In 2003, Volume 22 in the Bach Cantata series of Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan was singled out as one of the finest discs of the year by the French magazine Diapason, and five years later the team’s recording of the composer’s Mass in B minor was awarded the same honour. In 2010, the turn has again come to the Bach specialists from Japan, whose recording of the Motets was hailed in the April issue of Diapason as a new reading of the works ‘transforming them, through supremely fine-drawn lines and a perfectly radiant energy, into glorious stained glass windows.’ The critics of Diapason and broadcasters of the French radio channel France Musique have now chosen to award the disc a Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2010, as the best disc of choral music of the year. The award was made public at a ceremony held at the Maison de Radio France in Paris on the 16th of November, and transmitted live on France Musique.

  • For further information about Bach’s Motets, BIS-SACD-1841, please click here
  • For a video clip made during the recording of this disc, please click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by the Bach Collegium Japan on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of recordings by Masaaki Suzuki on BIS, click here
  • For a complete listing of Bach Cantatas (released as of today), click here

24. September 2010

In Great Company
During the Fifth International Sibelius Conference, held in Oxford on 17th–20th September 2010, long-time BIS collaborator Andrew Barnett was presented with the prestigious Sibelius medal of the Sibelius Society of Finland. Andrew Barnett is the author of a biography of the composer, published in 2007 by Yale University Press, and is also project advisor for the monumental SIBELIUS EDITION currently being released by BIS. Since 1965 the Finnish Sibelius Society has been awarding the medal to individuals and organisations for their outstanding achievements as performers or supporters of Sibelius' music, as well as to researchers. Recent recipients include the singers Soile Isokoski and Jorma Hynninen, as well as the conductors Osmo Vänskä, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

  • For further information about the Sibelius medal, click here
  • For further information about Andrew Barnett’s Sibelius biography, click here
  • For further information about the BIS SIBELIUS EDITION, click here

01. September 2010

’Ultra-virtuosic Vocal Architecture’
The prestigious German Record Critics’ Annual Award (‘Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’) has recently been presented to Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan for the team’s recording of the motets by J.S. Bach. In the citation for the award, the jury of German reviewers speaks of Bach’s ‘ultra-virtuosic vocal architecture’ in the motets, and of the ‘overwhelming result’ as Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan take on these works: ‘This recording combines musicological insight with sensual delight and strikingly perceptive readings of the texts.’ The award was presented to Masaaki Suzuki on the 22 of August at a concert in the Church of St Nicolai in Cuxhaven-Altenbruch, where members of the Bach Collegium Japan were performing as part of the 21st Musikfest Bremen.

  • For further information about Bach’s Motets, BIS-SACD-1841, please click here
  • For a video clip made during the recording of this disc, please click here
  • Read more about the German Record Critics' Annual Award here

30. August 2010

Released in January 2010, Freddy Kempf’s recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 3 has received wide acclaim, and was selected as a Gramophone Editor’s Choice in the magazine’s May issue. While noting ’BIS's impressively translucent sound engineering’, the Gramophone reviewers described the performance by Kempf and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra as ‘a thoughtful reading ... and one in which the orchestra under the excellent Andrew Litton play a full part’, going on to call it ‘finely honed, suitably mercurial and certain to impress ... a dazzling successor to the pianist's earlier Prokofiev recital’ (BIS-CD-1260, released in 2003).

The disc has now been named one of three finalists in the ‘Concerto’ category of the 2010 edition of the prestigious Gramophone Awards. The winners will be revealed on 1st of October at a ceremony held in London.

  • For further information about Freddy Kempf, please click here
  • For a list of other releases by the Bergen PO and Andrew Litton, please click here

15. June 2010

Wedding Bells Are Ringing
As befits a royal wedding, several days of celebrations will precede the ceremony in the 13th-century Stockholm Cathedral on Saturday. In a similar way, the 1744 marriage between Crown Prince Adolf Fredrik of Sweden and Lovisa Ulrika of Prussia was celebrated at the palace of Drottningholm with a number of balls, banquets and ceremonies. Music was an all-important feature, and among the works performed was Johan Helmich Roman’s Drottningholm Music – written for the occasion, and considered a milestone in the music history of Sweden. 276 years later, a new recording packaged in a tastefully designed wrapping, forms BIS’ contribution to the Royal Wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Mr Daniel Westling. Performed by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra under the acclaimed baroque violinist and conductor Andrew Manze, Roman’s suite is as festive and charming as ever. This will be apparent through listening to the two movements we have elected to offer for a limited period as our wedding gift to all visitors to our website.

  • For more information about this title, please click here

21. May 2010

BIS goes to Rotterdam
The DVD of Gergiev conducting Brahms’ German Requiem is the prelude to a four-disc collaboration between the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and BIS. To be recorded over the coming three years are works by Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel among others, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gergiev’s successor in Rotterdam and one of the fastest-rising stars on the international classical music scene. The first recording took place already in March this year: an all-Berlioz programme consisting of Symphonie fantastique and La mort de Cléopâtre. Soloist in the latter work is the Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, making one of her rare appearances on disc. The second album to be recorded will include Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, a recording that takes place in de Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam in June. Both discs are planned for release during the 2010/2011 season.

  • For more information about Valery Gergiev’s DVD of A German Requiem, click here
  • For more information about Yannick Nézet-Séguin, visit his website at www.yannicknezetseguin.com
  • For more information about the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, visit the orchestra’s website www.rpho.nl

16. April 2010

A Hymn of Praise
Choosing from the more than 1.500 recordings reviewed in the BBC Music Magazine in the course of 2009, a jury of eight distinguished music critics awarded its prize for technical excellence to BIS’ recording of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2, ‘Lobgesang’ (‘Hymn of Praise’) with the Bergen Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton (BIS-SACD-1704).

The award, which confirms BIS’ status as a leader in the field of sound recording, was presented at a ceremony in London on the 13th April by Andrew McGregor of BBC Radio 3 CD Review. Praising the musical interpretation of Mendelssohn’s ‘Symphony-Cantata’, McGregor described the recording itself as follows: ‘Turn it up a bit and you’ll feel the living room walls melt away, and you’re there in the Grieg Hall’s acoustic experiencing a realistic concert hall balance and a proper live sense of occasion.’

Present at the award ceremony were conductor Andrew Litton, label director Robert von Bahr, and Hans Kipfer and Ingo Petry, recording producer and sound engineer behind the winning disc. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton have already recorded the complete Mendelssohn symphonies on BIS, while coming projects include Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka, due for release in 2011.

  • For more information about Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton on BIS, click here
  • For information about the 2010 BBC Music Magazine Awards, including video material from the award ceremony, visit the website of the BBC Music Magazine

29. March 2010

Going to the movies
For his new film Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese has chosen to use existing music by composers such as György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke and Krzysztof Penderecki. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, the film features music from Ligeti's Two Etudes for Organ and Schnittke's Hymn for cello and double bass. In the case of both works it is recordings from BIS Records that are being used on the soundtrack, adding to the ominous, sinister world that Scorsese creates on the screen. The recordings in question were selected from a disc of organ music by Ligeti and Schoenberg made by Hans-Ola Ericsson, and from an album of cello works by Schnittke featuring Torleif Thedéen, supported by double-bass player Entcho Radoukanov.

  • Learn more about Martin Scorsese's film Shutter Island at www.shutterisland.com and www.imdb.com.
  • For information about the BIS recordings featured in Shutter Island, click on the links below:
    Organ music by Schoenberg and Ligeti, BIS-CD-509
    Cello Concerto No.1 etc - Alfred Schnittke, BIS-CD-507

27. January 2010

‘A superbly articulated performance ... enriched by a magnificent orchestral accompaniment.’
At this year’s MIDEM, the international gathering of the music industry in Cannes, Ronald Brautigam accepted an award for his recording of Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto, BIS-SACD-1792. The MIDEM Classical Awards are bestowed by a jury consisting of representatives for the international music press and media, who selected Ronald Brautigam’s recording as the best concerto disc of 2009. Part of a cycle of Beethoven’s complete works for piano and orchestra, the disc also features a rarely heard early work by the composer, the Piano Concerto WoO4, for which Brautigam himself has made the reconstruction of the orchestral score. Brautigam’s partners in this project, which will be concluded in 2010 by the release of Piano Concerto No.5 and the Choral Fantasy, are the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrew Parrott.

  • For further details on Ronald Brautigam’s Beethoven recording, and his other releases on BIS, click here

27. November 2009

‘Artistic Project of 2009’
The prestigious distinction Diapason d’Or de l’Année is awarded by a jury comprising critics from the leading French magazine Diapason and broadcasters from France Musique, the public radio station devoted to music. The architect of the 3-disc Choros cycle on BIS, conductor John Neschling, received the award, which was presented to him during a ceremony transmitted live on France Musique. The 14 works that make up Heitor Villa-Lobos’ great cycle range from solo pieces for guitar and piano to large-scale orchestral frescoes, some of which also involve choir or soloists. The highly acclaimed series was recorded in collaboration with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), which was also represented at the award ceremony in Paris. The same orchestra also plays a key role on three previously released discs of Villa-Lobos’ 9 Bachianas Brasileiras, and these two cycles, described on web site ClassicsToday.com as ‘the finest recordings of these works currently available’ have been combined in a recent box set, BIS-CD-1830/32.

  • For information about the Choros, click here
  • For details regarding the box set of Bachianas and Choros, click here

24. November 2009

Interpreter Prize
goes to Martin Fröst
A wizard on his instrument, charismatic and fearless both in established and newly-composed repertoire, he grapples with renewing the form of his concerts thus perpetually surprising his audiences.

Now, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music has awarded its Interpreter Prize to virtuoso clarinetist Martin Fröst citing: "As soloist and chamber musician, explorer and presenter of new and traditional repertoire he has the world at his feet. Constantly exploring new aspects of musical creativity, he has inspired a succession of composers to write for him works that have proved exciting and important additions to the clarinet repertoire."

The award of 100.000 Swedish Crowns will be presented on 30th November by His Majesty King Carl Gustav at a ceremonial gathering of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The day before, on 29th November, one can hear Martin Fröst performing together with Svante Henrysson and Roland Pöntinen at the Assembly Room of the Royal Musical Academy in the recital series "Academy Sundays". The concert itself will consist exclusively of encores!

The Interpreter Prize was established in 2007 and is awarded annually to a truly innovative artist or ensemble of the highest musical calibre.

  • For a Martin Fröst's complete dicography on BIS, click here

23. November 2009

A great singer departs
Described as 'one of the most perceptive and admired sopranos of the postwar era', Elisabeth Söderström passed away in Stockholm on November 22nd, aged 82. Her début took place at the Drottningholm Palace Theatre in 1947, and during the following three decades she was a key member of the ensemble of the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, while maintaining an international career with regular appearances at Glyndebourne and Covent Garden, at the Salzburg Festival and the Metropolitan. Besides being a superb actress, Elisabeth Söderström was also an inspired recitalist, and famously collaborated with Vladimir Ashkenazy. A highly intelligent musician, she combined great versatility with a strong sense of humour, as demonstrated by her two recordings for BIS: on 'Örhängen' ('Evergreens') she performed a programme of popular Swedish songs, and with her close friend the mezzo soprano Kerstin Meyer she devised a recital which closes with Puccini's famous duet for two cats - a role which the acclaimed interpreter of Mélisande and Jenůfa enjoyed to the full.

  • For details about recordings with Elisabeth Söderström on BIS, click here

16. November 2009

Twice Rewarded
Choosing his ten personal favourites among the discs reviewed in Gramphone’s November issue, James Inverne, the editor of the magazine, selects two recent BIS releases. The discs in question could hardly be more different: Mahler’s monumental Ninth Symphony conducted by Alan Gilbert (BIS-SACD-1710), and ‘Stabat Mater’, a trio of Baroque vocal works with counter-tenor Daniel Taylor and soprano Emma Kirkby (BIS-SACD-1546). In his own, brief comments to his choice, Inverne characterizes Alan Gilbert’s Mahler interpretation as ‘a superb, devastating reading’. The full-length review describes the disc as probably ‘the finest recording the work has received’ on a technical level, going on to state that the achievement of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is ‘still more extraordinary than that of the engineers.’ As for ‘Stabat Mater’, James Inverne calls it ‘an absolutely gorgeous, contemplative disc’, singling out the performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in the less well-known version by J.S. Bach for special praise.

  • Mahler Symphony No.9, BIS-SACD-1710, details
  • Stabat Mater, BIS-SACD-1546, details

16. November 2009

Beethoven Cycle Twice Lauded
The boxed set of the Vänskä/Minnesota Beethoven cycle unites the five single discs – in their original Hybrid SACD format – released between 2004 and 2008 to great acclaim. Already the first instalment was greeted as 'the modern Beethoven recording par excellence' by the reviewer in Financial Times, while his colleague in Gramophone on the occasion of the final disc wrote 'Here concludes one of the finest available Beethoven symphony cycles.'

Released in September, this ‘recycled’ cycle seems already predestined for similar critical success, at least to judge from the first reviews: the two websites ClassicsToday.com and ClassicsTodayFrance.com together named it their October ‘Disc of the Month’, the reviewer on the first site calling it ‘unquestionably one the great Beethoven cycles’ and his counterpart on the second describing it as ‘the great Beethoven cycle of the 2000s, just as Harnoncourt’s was that of the 1980s and Barenboim’s that of the 1990s.’

For details about this box (BIS-SACD-1825/26) click here

The full reviews can be found here:

27. August 2009

Nordic Composers’ Prize
In August 2009 Robert von Bahr became the first recipient of the prestigious new Nordic Composers’ Prize. The prize will henceforth be awarded annually by the Council of Nordic Composers to “a person or an organization whose activities have benefited the musical environment in the Nordic countries and thus had a positive effect on the situation of composers in the Nordic countries”.

The citation reads:
“The Nordic Composers’ Prize for 2009 is awarded to record-producer Robert von Bahr who, with extraordinary passion and knowledge has worked untiringly to make classical music of the highest quality available to a wide public, and who has created a highly impressive catalogue on the part of his own BIS Records in which many Nordic composers have had the joy of being able to publish fine recordings of their works”.

21. January 2009

Doing it by halves
In early January Sudbin and the Minnesota Orchestra successfully completed the recording of the first half of a disc planned for release in 2010. The programme will consist of Beethoven’s Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos, and it opens a complete series of the concertos, as a natural continuation of the orchestra’s highly acclaimed symphony cycle. During the January recording period Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra also recorded Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony (the "Romantic"), in the recent critical edition by Benjamin Korstvedt which advocates the final, 1888 version of the work.

For more information about Yevgeny Sudbin, click here

For more information about Minnesota Orchestran, click here