<< -- 4 -- Tess Crebbin MANY HAPPY RETURNS
As a singer, the German multi-talent won more awards than can be mentioned, including all the big ones, and he holds honorary doctorates from Oxford, Sorbonne and Yale, to mention just a few. Among his most important awards are the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society (1988), Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the Gramophone Life Achievement Award (1994), and Commandeur des Arts et Lettres. He is a multiple Grammy award winner, and the recipient of countless other recording awards, including ten of them for his complete edition of Schubert Lieder for male voice (1969-1971). He is also an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to name just some.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Photo © Foto Schaffler
As a person, those who have met him seem to agree that he is very professional in his approach to music, precise, even perfectionist, but very kind and open to his fellow performers. He continues to be an inspiration to many young singers throughout the world and even some of the most famous baritones of our time cite him as their main influence and role model. Inspiring is also his attitude to old age: far from letting it slow him down, the singer continues to be as active as ever and this year alone, he is booked at several European summer festivals, including Salzburg where, on 19 August 2005, he will conduct a gala concert to celebrate his birthday. At age 80, slowing down is nowhere in sight and Fischer-Dieskau has still a lot to give to the classical music world and beyond. So to someone equipped with such an active mind and spirit, who seems both age-and-timeless, one can only say: Many Happy Returns, and let's hope that he stays around for a long time yet.