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Human Rights Prize Awarded to Latvian Violinist

By Sara Schabas on October 10, 2023

Gidon Kremer
Photo courtesy of the artist

Violinist Gidon Kremer was announced as the winner of the €10,000 Beethoven Prize.

What’s going on? The ninth winner of the Beethoven Prize was announced last week. Latvian violinist, Gidon Kremer, was awarded the €10,000 prize for his advocacy work.

Refresher: Born in 1947, the violinist Gidon Kremer has recorded over 200 albums, and is closely associated with composers including Alfred Schnittke, John Adams, Philip Glass, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Astor Piazzola. Kremer has performed in maximum-security prisons, organized fundraising concerts and spoken out against various political causes for decades, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He runs the Gidon Kremer Foundation, which provides instruments, scholarships and performance opportunities to emerging musicians and supports the Kremerata Baltica, a chamber orchestra that brings performances to audiences in socially disadvantaged conditions.

Going Deeper: The Beethoven Prize was founded in 2015 by Torsten Schreiber and Andreas Loesch. It is awarded yearly to a musician who commits themself to Beethoven Academy’s values and the ideals with which the eponymous composer identified. These include human rights, peace, freedom, poverty fighting and diversity. Previous winners have included Maria Joao Pires, Patti Smith, and Igor Levit. This year’s prize will be awarded at a concert in Bonn, Germany, in November 2023.

Sara Schabas
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