Dame Kiri Te Kanawa given the Lifetime Achievement Award and Classic FM wins a Gramophone Award 2017

13 September 2017, 20:43 | Updated: 14 September 2017, 11:52

Kiri Te Kanawa

By Lizzie Davis

The 40th annual Gramophone Awards was a star-studded event celebrating the greatest names in classical music, including pianist Murray Perahia and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato

The ‘Oscars’ of classical music took place last night, 13 September, in central London, celebrating the very best recordings of the past year.

But as well as the category awards – which had been announced earlier this month, there were a number of special awards.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by actor Julian Ovenden, who appeared alongside Dame Kiri when she made a guest appearance in Downton Abbey in 2013.

Dame Kiri took the opportunity to express her gratitude: “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to record many of my key roles and I worked with some extraordinary people and with many different record companies throughout my career.

I also wish to acknowledge the support of my country, my audiences around the world and the many sacrifices made by my wonderful parents without which I would not be here today.”

She’d also announced her retirement from singing earlier in the day and told Classic FM:

“I don’t want to sing anymore, there’s no need – I’ve got enough music in my life. And I have the foundation and my students. Life is very full, it’s not as if things have stopped – things are more hectic than they’ve ever been.”

Last year when I sang in Ballarat [Australia] and it was 50 years ago that I won the Melbourne Sun-Aria I thought ‘time’s up!’ – 50 years, that’s enough, I think.”

There was also a special Anniversary Award, presented to Classic FM.

Gramophone’s Editor in Chief, James Jolly, said the award: “highlighted the important role the station plays in promoting classical artists, their recordings, partnerships with orchestras across the country and their tireless work making classical music accessible to as broad an audience as possible.”

Violinist Jennifer Pike presented the ceremony with James Jolly. We spoke to her backstage: 


Also announced at the ceremony was Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year, pianist Beatrice Rana, who also performed at the ceremony.

Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award – voted for by the public – went to conductor Vasily Petrenko, while the prestigious Recording of the Year Award went to violinist Isabelle Faust for her recording of Mozart Violin Concertos with Il Giardino Armonico.

We also met legendary pianist Murray Perahia backstage, who spoke about the great range of musical styles in the albums receiving awards at the ceremony:

Composer Max Richter also touched on how Classical music has changed over the last 25 years and what he's excited about for the next quarter century, plus he shared his best advice for young composers:


The full list of winners can be found below and on Gramophone’s website.

The whole ceremony was streamed live on medici.tv, Gramophone.com, ClassicFM.com and our Facebook page.

The full list of winners


Baroque Instrumental

La Serenissima / Adrian Chandler: ‘The Italian Job’ (Avie)


Baroque Vocal

Iestyn Davies; Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen: Bach: Cantatas Nos 54, 82 & 170 (Hyperion)



Silesian Quartet: Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets (Chandos)



Masaaki Suzuki / Bach Collegium: Mozart: Mass in C minor (BIS)



Isabelle Faust; Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini: Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos 1-5 (Harmonia Mundi)



Pierre-Laurent Aimard; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / George Benjamin: Benjamin, Ligeti, Murail: Orchestral Works (Neos)


Early Music

Phantasm: Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears (Linn)



Murray Perahia: Bach: French Suites (DG)



Zurich Opera / Fabio Luisi: Berg: Wozzeck (DVD) (Accentus)



Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini: Haydn: Symphonies Nos 12, 60, 70 (Alpha)



Joyce DiDonato with Il Pomo d’Oro / Maxim Emelyanychev: ‘In War and Peace’ (Erato)


Solo vocal

Matthias Goerne & Christoph Eschenbach: Brahms: Vier ernste Gesänge; Songs Op 32 (Harmonia Mundi)


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