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MOMENTS OF HAPPINESS

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Alfred Brendel wins the
International Ernst von Siemens Music Award 2004,
reported by TESS CREBBIN

 

One of the world's foremost pianists, essayists and music writers, Alfred Brendel, is the recipient of the 2004 Ernst von Siemens Annual Music Award, which was awarded in Munich, Germany on 14 May at the Kammerspiele. Upon receiving the 150,000 euro award, Brendel thanked his family, friends and loyal audience for 'allowing me moments of happiness in a world that frequently seems to be chaotic and upside down.'

The charming and modest star-pianist was the first to record Beethoven's complete works for piano and he has made a name for himself with Busoni's piano music, Schubert's sonatas, the piano concerto of Arnold Schoenberg, the later works of Liszt and many other composers. He is recognized worldwide as being one of the foremost pianists alive today and in 1998 celebrated his fiftieth anniversary of performing. He has been living in England since 1971 and has published two critically acclaimed English-language books on music: Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded out.

Brendel's family background is Austrian/German/Italian/Slavic and he received no formal instruction after the age of sixteen. Proud of being largely self-taught, Brendel started his international career in 1949 when he won a prize at the Busoni competition.

Alfred Brendel at the Ernst von Siemens Music Award ceremony in Munich. Photo © Christine Strub
Alfred Brendel at the Ernst von Siemens Music Award ceremony in Munich. Photo © Christine Strub

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, of which the Siemens prize is the latest addition. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Oxford, Exeter and Yale and he is a KBE.

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Copyright © 20 May 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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