07 October 2020
By Ellie Palmer
The German pianist also took home the Instrumental Award for his Sony Classical recording of Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Igor Levit has been named Gramophone's 2020 Artist of the Year.
Levit, who appeared on the cover of issue 112 of Pianist, had already picked up the Instrumental Award for his Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas. The recording was lauded by press and public alike upon its release last year, putting the pianist firmly on the map as one of the great Beethoven interpreters of modern times.
Igor Levit featured on the cover of issue 112 of Pianist. © Felix Broede
In a statement about the sonata cycle, Levit said, "For me, this recording is a conclusion of my past 15 years. The literally life-changing encounter with the Diabelli Variations at the age of 17, which is effectively still ongoing, the daily engagement with Beethoven's sonatas, with Beethoven as a person, with myself, with the world in which I live - all that has also led to this recording."
2020 has continued to be a year of great success for the German. In March, as concert venues across Europe closed and live music-making came to a halt, many musicians took to streaming performances from their homes. Levit was not only one of the first, but also one of the most visible.
On March 12 he announced a series of Hauskonzerte (house concerts), which included performances of Beethoven, Schubert’s last two piano sonatas, Schumann’s C major Fantasie, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition; Shostakovich’s Piano Sonata No 2 and Op 34 Preludes, and so many more. Some of these works led to an unplanned recording project, Encounter, which was released in September.
The Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2020 aired on 6 October, live on Gramophone's social media channels and via Medici TV. You can rewatch the ceremony here.
Main image: © Felix Broede