Classical Music Awards: 5 Things to Know About the Ceremony

It's a rendezvous that has been quietly settling in for 30 years now

Classical Music Awards: 5 Things to Know About the Ceremony

It's a rendezvous that has been quietly settling in for 30 years now. France 3 and France Musique are meeting us this Wednesday, March 1, live from the auditorium of the Dijon Opera for the 30th Victories for Classical Music ceremony. Few things have filtered through on the festive entertainment planned for this event - we would have liked some appetizers - but Marc Voinchet, president of Les Victoires, promises "a few surprises". “We want to celebrate music and musicians, despite the threats hanging over the musical world, continues the director of France musique, in particular inflation and the high cost of energy. »

Far from the audience boxes, the broadcast figures for the ceremony have tended to erode in recent years to stabilize slightly above one million viewers (1.03 million last year). The 1.9 million viewers gathered in front of their TV for the 20th anniversary of the ceremony in 2013 seem totally out of reach today. All thanks to a mixture of excellence and openness, especially to young people, but with a real talent for flushing out the talents of tomorrow. Overview of what to expect from this thirtieth anniversary ceremony.

For the fourth consecutive year, a woman will be in charge. Debora Waldman conducts the Dijon Bourgogne Orchestra, an ensemble associated with the Dijon Opera. In 2020, the year she was appointed musical director of the National Orchestra of Avignon-Provence, the Brazilian and Israeli conductor became the first woman to lead a permanent national orchestra. Since September 2022, she has also been associate conductor at the Dijon Opera.

Coming from a generation that wants to impose itself at the head of the biggest formations, 4% of chefs today are women, Debora Waldman could see another chef being rewarded this evening since they are two to be named in the category "revelation, conductor": Sora Elisabeth Lee and Lucie Leguay who compete alongside Victor Jacob.

Initially integrated into the Victoires de la Musique, classical music gained its independence in 1994 and, until 2002, jazz was associated with it. This year 2023, Stéphane Bern is the master of ceremonies for the third consecutive year. He promises us a tighter program to give way in the second part of the evening to a best of "They made Les Victoires de la musique Classique" which will come back to the best moments and the artists revealed by the ceremony.

New this year, the public was invited to vote for one of the categories. If since 2010 no more Victory comes to reward an ensemble, which questions for a profession which values ​​the collective but also requires an individual "starification" to succeed in imposing itself at the highest level, the "recording" category is what is closest to it.

For this 30th ceremony, there are three to compete: the pianist Bertrand Chamayou (4 Victories) with "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus" by Olivier Messiaen, the Ensemble Pygmalion, conducted by Raphaël Pichon (already rewarded together for a previous recording) with Bach's "Matthäus-Passion" (Saint Matthew Passion) and finally the pianist Alexandre Kantorow (who has already won two Victories, including that of the recording of the year in 2020 for the recording of the Concertos 3, 4 and 5 by Saint-Saëns) and his disc around the "piano concerto n° 1 and 2" by Camille Saint-Saëns. These three recordings were selected beforehand by the Academy of Voters, they can be found in the rankings of the best classical music sales of 2022, before being submitted to public votes between February 1 and 28.

When we look at the list of awards given over the past thirty years, we see the panorama of what classical music has been like in France during the same period. Thus Natalie Dessay (with no less than 6 opera singer of the year trophies), Roberto Alagna, Karine Deshayes, Marielle and Katia Labèque, Jordi Savall, Nelson Freire, Alexandre Tharaud, etc. are among the winners.

As well as the different revelations (lyrical artist or instrumental soloist) then regularly reappeared among the winners. This is for example the case of Patricia Petibon (revelation in 1998 and opera singer of the year in 2001 and 2003), Julie Fuchs (revelation in 2012 and artist of the year in 2014 and 2021) or a certain Renaud Capuçon (revelation in 2000, a year before his brother, and instrumental soloist of the year in 2005).

As such, we can salute the exemplary trajectory of countertenor Philippe Jaroussky: revelation in 2004, opera singer in 2007 and 2010, recording of the year in 2008 and 2009 before finally in 2020 an Honorary Victory.

But does winning an award at what is one of France's biggest classical music showcases really have an effect? If it is impossible to quantify it, we can still legitimately think that, despite its declining audiences, this evening constitutes a great exhibition for young talents and instruments sometimes less known to the general public. For example, Théo Ould, first accordionist nominated for the Révélations des Victoires de la Musique Classique, or Lucile Boulanger, nominated in the instrumental soloist category with her viola da gamba, of which this is only the second appearance at the Victoires de la Musique Classique.

On the side of the former winners, they are also several to testify to a "Victoires de la musique effect", in particular with regard to the crucial media coverage for these young soloists. "This trophy was a significant step that allowed me to take a step on the path to confidence," says soprano Marie Perbost (revelation in 2020). For oboist Gabriel Pidoux: "Obtaining the Instrumental Soloist Revelation of the Year 2020 has pushed me into many projects. The same goes for mezzo Eva Zaïcik, who testifies to "the recognition, the visibility" brought by her victory in 2018.

You definitely don't have a musical ear? See you in the kitchens of Top Chef for the premiere of the new season.

All the nominees of these 30th Victoires de la musiqueInstrumental soloist Lucile Boulanger, viol Bertrand Chamayou, piano Nemanja Radulovic, violin Lyrical singer Léa Desandre, mezzo-soprano Barbara Hannigan, soprano Marina Viotti, mezzo-soprano Révélation, instrumental soloist Joë Christophe, clarinet Théo Ould, accordion Aurélien Pascal, celloRévélation, opera singer Marine Chagnon, mezzo-soprano Edwin Fardini, baritone Alexandra Marcellier, sopranoRévélation, conductor Victor Jacob Sora Elisabeth Lee Lucie LeguayComposer Benjamin Attahir – Layal, for violin and orchestra (Premiere / Germany) Philippe Leroux – The announcement made to Mary, Opera (Creation / France) Fabien Waksman – The Island of Time, concerto for accordion and symphony orchestra (CD Warner Classics "J'ai deux amours")Recording "Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus », Messiaen – Bertrand Chamayou – Erato “Matthäus-Passion”, Johann Sebastian Bach – Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon, Sabine Devieilhe, Lucie Richardot, Stéphane Degout – Harmonia Mundi Music "Piano Concertos No. 1