The eccentric conductor, who is billed as the “rock star of classical music,” was chosen by a 25-member jury of leading names in classical music from among 20 international nominees shortlisted for the honor, announced on Monday night along with the winners in 25 other categories during an awards ceremony at İstanbul’s Rahmi M. Koç Museum.
The Donizetti Awards, launched in 2010 by Turkey’s leading classical music periodical Andante and named after the 19th-century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, normally recognize Turkish performers and composers of classical music and ballet. With the newly introduced Musician of the Year nominations and award, the Donizetti honors have become international in the event’s third edition, according to the awards’ website, www.donizettiodulleri.com.
Other winners announced during Monday’s ceremony included Turgay Erdener, who was named Composer of the Year; the Bursa Regional State Symphony Orchestra, which won Orchestra of the Year; İbrahim Yazıcı, who was chosen as Conductor of the Year; and the İstanbul-based Hezarfen Ensemble, which won Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year.
Acclaimed virtuoso Hüseyin Sermet was named Pianist of the Year while Efe Baltacıgil won String Instrumentalist of the Year and Gülşen Tatu won the Wind Instrumentalist prize.
The Opera Director of the Year prize went to Mehmet Ergüven while the Opera Production of the Year was the Ankara State Opera and Ballet’s new rendition of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser.”
The Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, which made headlines last year with their public performances in such eccentric venues as İstanbul’s metrobuses and metro train cars to seek sponsors for their stint in an international choral competition, won the Donizetti prize for Choir/Vocal Ensemble of the Year.
World-famous violin virtuoso Suna Kan was honored with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award while İlhan Baran and Koral Çalgan received the Music Educator’s Honor during the ceremony.