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Successful ending of Dresden Music Festival 2013Thomas Quasthoff named winner of 10th Glashütte Original Music Festival Award

On 2nd June, the Dresden Music Festival 2013 came to a close, which was very successful again this year. Already in its 10th year, the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award ceremony took place against the backdrop of the Dresden Music Festival. The 25,000 Euro prize, funded by the Saxon watch manufactory, is awarded in recognition of significant commitment and support on behalf of developing young artists.

On stage at the Dresden Theatre were the director of the Dresden Music Festival, Jan Vogler, and Yann Gamard, Managing Director of Glashütte Original; together they announced the name of the 2013 award winner: Thomas Quasthoff.

The German bass baritone was unable to participate in the ceremony due to illness. Accepting the award on his behalf were his wife, Claudia Quasthoff, and one of his students, Manuel Walser, both visibly moved.

The Dresden Music Festival and the Saxon watch manufactory have jointly awarded the prize for support to emerging artists since 2004. Thomas Quasthoff is a worthy winner in this, the award’s 10th anniversary year, as he has lent his committed support, enthusiasm and artistic and musical competence to young singers as they approach the world of the stage. On the occasion of the award ceremony one of Thomas Quasthoff’s students, Manuel Walser, offered the audience a serenade in honour of the award winner. In February 2013, Walser won the “Das Lied” competition in Berlin, which Quasthoff initiated.

The 2013 winner sent a written greeting to the two founders of the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award:

„First I must thank you with all my heart for this award. I am honoured to receive recognition for my efforts to win people over to good music, both classical and jazz. For me, the real gift is the fact that I get to work with young people. Thank you for acknowledging this with your award!“

In his message, Thomas Quasthoff went on to convey his deep regret that he could not be present in person in Dresden and sent his best wishes to the audience for a wonderful evening. He hoped to come to Dresden again, as he loved the city, its culture and above all the Dresden Music Festival.

The evening was to have seen Thomas Quasthoff and Louis Lortie at the Dresden Theatre in a performance marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner. The renowned actress Marie Bäumer generously offered to step in at short notice to take over the speaking role. The audience was visibly moved by the appearance of the two artists and rewarded their performance with thunderous applause.

The evening affair concluded in the charming atmosphere of the theatre’s Felix restaurant, as guests engaged in interesting discussions regarding the fascination exerted by music and the art of watchmaking.

Background information on the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award

As in previous years the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award trophy was built by two apprentice watchmakers at the “Alfred Helwig School of Watchmaking” in Glashütte. Every year the School, owned by Glashütte Original and now in its 11th year, trains watchmakers and toolmakers. The form of the award trophy unites traditional watchmaking craftsmanship with modern materials. The flying tourbillon with its 18 tiny weighted screws symbolizes the virtuosity of watchmakers. It is considered to be a sign of the highest form of the watchmaker’s art and was developed in Glashütte around 1920 by the master watchmaker Alfred Helwig.

Since 2004 the Dresden Music Festival Award, funded by Glashütte Original, has been awarded jointly by the Dresden Music Festival and Glashütte Original. The award honours the life’s work of an artist dedicated to the musical arts who has sustained and furthered his or her commitment to music over the course of several decades. Previous award winners include the director Kurt Masur, choreographer John Neumeier, opera director Joachim Herz, violinist Gidon Kremer and the mezzo soprano, Christa Ludwig.

The appointment in 2009 of Jan Vogler as director of the Dresden Music Festival brought a re-orientation of the Glashütte Original Music Festival Award. With the selection of conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the award was given for the first time to an artist who had dedicated considerable time and energy to the support of emerging young artists. The same can be said of subsequent award winners Valery Gergiev, artistic director and director general of the renowned Mariinsky Theatre; Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; and Hélène Grimaud. In keeping with the concept and intent of the award, each of the artists has directed that the prize money go to a project in support of developing young artists.