Kent Nagano receives the Brahms Prize 2024 (March 2024)

The Brahms-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein is awarding this year’s Brahms Prize to the renowned conductor Kent Nagano. The California-born maestro has been celebrated worldwide for decades for his conducting achievements in both the symphonic oeuvre and the opera repertoire. In recent years in particular, as GMD of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, he has increasingly focussed on Johannes Brahms and opened up new perspectives on the work of the North German composer. […]

The award ceremony for the Brahms Prize, which is endowed with EUR 10,000, will take place on 29 September 2024 at 7.30 pm in St. Bartholomew’s Church in Wesselburen. Kent Nagano will be accompanied by the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, which will perform works by Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss under his baton and in his honour.

Kent Nagano: “If there is one composer who epitomises music from northern Germany, it is Johannes Brahms. And the Brahms Society Schleswig-Holstein has been making an important contribution to this rich musical life for almost 40 years: by maintaining the Brahms House, organising the Brahms Weeks and preserving and researching his works. In the past nine years, during which I have been able to work as Hamburg’s General Music Director, Johannes Brahms has always been extremely present for me. His symphonies, choral works and concertos have formed the basis of our concert seasons and my own musical compass. In the last Philharmonic concert of the 2024/25 season, we will play his Fourth Symphony as a kind of closing statement. The deep connection between the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and myself and Johannes Brahms is not only due to geographical reasons. The expression and genius of this composer are a perfect match for the sound of the orchestra: warm, sometimes fiery, full of light and flexibility – that is the sky over northern Germany, which is reflected by the sea and illuminated by the clear sun more often than many assume. Receiving this year’s Brahms Prize is an extraordinary honour and fills me with a deep sense of joy that our work has been recognised in Hamburg since 2015.

Founded in 1987, the Brahms-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein has awarded the Brahms Prize to outstanding personalities and performers of classical music every year since 1988. The prizewinners include famous names such as Leonard Bernstein, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sabine Meyer, Christoph Eschenbach, Herbert Blomstedt and Midori, and further information can be found on the website of the Brahms-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein.

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