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Mei Yi Foo

'... wonderfully poetic ...' - Bill Newman

London-based Malaysian pianist Mei Yi Foo has won the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer award for her album 'Musical Toys' on the new label Odradek Records. The album features Sofia Gubaidulina's Musical Toys, the first recording of Unsuk Chin's Six Piano Etudes and György Ligeti's Musica Ricercata. The magazine's Christopher Dingle described the album as 'delightfully conceived, presented and played'.

Composer Unsuk Chin commented: 'Mei Yi Foo is a unique musician, who has played my Piano Etudes with astounding perfection and creativity.'

The award was presented at a ceremony at King's Place, London UK on 9 April 2013, at which Mei Yi performed three short pieces from the album. She said: 'I am thrilled to be receiving this award from the prestigious jury of the BBC Music Magazine. The award is important to me, not least for the invaluable endorsement of the Odradek Project which I am proud to be part of, but also for the immense encouragement to myself, one artist among thousands, to forge ahead playing and creating with fearless commitment.'

Mei Yi Foo will also perform a full recital program based on Musical Toys at London's King's Place at 7:30pm on Wednesday 17 April 2013.

Musical Toys is the third release from the new non-profit label and concert cooperative, Odradek Records. John Anderson, Odradek's founder, was very happy to see Mei Yi win this award. 'We see it as an endorsement', he said, 'both of Mei Yi's extraordinary talent and of Odradek's unique approach to A&R. Odradek exists for and because of its artists, and we're proud to have played a part in making this beautiful recording possible, and look forward to many more to come.'

Unlike conventional labels, Odradek's roster democratically selects new artists by anonymous demo - a policy put in place to prevent any external concerns from affecting what should be purely musical decisions: the intent is to eliminate market considerations, cronyism, 'political' connections and the predominance of image from the process, and to maintain the quality of its catalogue through a 'peer-review' method. The result is an eclectic group of artists, united by excellent musicianship and an adventurous approach to repertoire, creating albums that are able to speak for themselves musically. Business decisions affecting the label are made democratically by the roster. All profits are paid out as royalties. Odradek Records, based in the USA but with global outreach and activity, was formed in May 2012.

A spokesperson from Mei Yi Foo's agency, Athole Still, said that 'Everyone at the Athole Still agency is delighted at this outstanding and much deserved achievement by Mei Yi. Our agency has been pre-eminent in the world of classical music management for nearly thirty years and with an artist such as Mei Yi on our growing instrumentalist division, we have forged an exciting partnership and look forward to growing with Mei Yi into international prominence.'

Other awards were won by Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra (Recording of the Year and Choral Award, Elgar's The Apostles on Hallé CD HLD 7534), Janina Fialkowska (Instrumental Award, Chopin Piano Works on ATMA Classique ACD 22666), Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic (Orchestral Award, for Bruckner Symphony No 9 on EMI Classics 952 9692; DVD Award for Bach's St Matthew Passion on the orchestra's own label, BPH 120011), the Early Opera Company (Opera Award, Handel's Alceste on Chandos CHAN 0788), Angelika Kirchschlager and Julius Drake (Vocal Award, Liszt Complete Songs Vol 2, Hyperion CDA 67934), Trio Zimmermann (Chamber Award, Beethoven String Trios, BIS-SACD-1857), Marek Janowski and the Berlin Radio Choir (Technical Excellence Award for Wagner's Parsifal on PentaTone 5186401) and Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Premiere Recording Award, music by Kaija Saariaho on Ondine ODE 1173-2).

Information: www.meiyifoo.com

Posted: 15 April 2013 by Andy Doe

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