1st September 2021, London – Today, the 72 recordings that form the second round of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2021 are revealed in a free-to-view digital magazine. From this list of celebrated recordings, an album will be chosen as the winner in each of the 11 recording categories, and from that shortlist, a single album will be named ‘Recording of the Year’ on 5th October.

For the second year running, the Gramophone Classical Music Awards will be streamed online. Filmed at the VOCES8 Centre in the City of London, the Awards will be hosted by Gramophone’s Editor-in-Chief, James Jolly, and the classical chart-topping pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.

The 2020 Awards, streamed from Glyndebourne, were watched by 330,000 households worldwide. For a second year, the Awards are presented in association with Apple MusicE Gutzwiller et Cie, Banquiers and, as charity partner, Help Musicians. The Awards will be streamed on Gramophone’s website, YouTube and Facebook channels, by Medici.tv and by Classic FM.

This year, a number of new awards will be presented: ‘Piano’ breaks away from ‘Instrumental’ in its own category, and ‘Instrumental’ now recognises solo performances on any instrument other than the piano. ‘Solo Vocal’ is renamed ‘Song’, and ‘Recital’ becomes ‘Voice & Ensemble’. 

A new award celebrating Apple Music’s Spatial Audio joins the categories this year. It will recognise the outstanding Dolby Atmos recordings and audio technology that have changed the way we hear music. With Spatial Audio, the sound surrounds you, coming not just from left and right but also from above, in front, and behind you. 

The new ‘Spatial Audio’ category sees albums from Gramophone’s current Orchestra of the Year, The Philadelphia Orchestra, alongside the LA Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, the pianist Piotr Anderszewski and the choral group Stile Antico lined-up to find the most impressive deployment of this new audio technology. 

This year’s inaugural winner will be revealed on 5th October. The artist and label awards will be also revealed during the ceremony, including the 2021 ‘Orchestra of the Year’, presented with Apple Music, our ‘Artist of the Year’ (sponsored by Raymond Weil) and ‘Label of the Year’ award.

Among the numerous recordings in contention in the ‘Orchestral’ category are two rarely recorded, complete symphony cycles: the four of Franz Schmidt from the Frankfurt RSO and Paavo Järvi (Deutsche Grammophon) and the four of Charles Ives from the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel (also DG), as well as two albums from John Wilson and his Sinfonia of London. A number of previous Gramophone Award winners vie for the ‘Early Music’ Award: The Tallis Scholars, Concerto Italiano and Les Arts Florissants. In the ‘Contemporary’ category (sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music), the six composers in contention are Louis Andriessen, Michael Finnissy, Liza Lim, John Pickard, Christopher Rouse and Francisco Coll.

This year’s all-female line-up competing for the ‘Song’ award finds albums by Jamie Barton, Jodie Devos, last year’s Young Artist Natalya Romaniw, Sabine Devieilhe, Fatma Said and Anna Prohaska in competition, while the ‘Voice & Ensemble’ category comprises aria albums from Lise Davidsen, Ermonela Jaho, Michael Spyres & Lawrence Brownlee, and Ludovic Tézier, orchestral songs from Sandrine Piau and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Dame Sarah Connolly and Robert Dean Smith.

All 72 reviews can be read in Gramophone’s now very popular annual ‘digi-mag’ which is available from today via Gramophone’s website.

James Jolly, Gramophone’s Editor-in-Chief says, ‘More than ever, recorded music has formed a larger part of our musical diets, and this year’s shortlist is impressive in its range and depth. As always, the familiar and the less so are celebrated and the line-up of musicians is characteristically international and of the highest calibre. I’m delighted that Isata Kanneh-Mason will be joining me for the Awards stream next month, a pianist we have celebrated in our pages for her two striking albums on Decca.’

For more information on the Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2021, visit the website and to explore the nominated artists and past winners go to Gramophone’s curator page on Apple Music

Read the full digital magazine via Exact Editions https://reader.exacteditions.com/issues/