Dame Felicity Lott accepts Lifetime Achievement Award at Gramophone Awards 2023 © Colin Millar

  • Fabio Luisi’s recording of Nielsen’s Fourth and Fifth Symphonies with Danish National Symphony Orchestra is crowned Recording of the Year
  • French soprano Véronique Gens wins Artist of the Year and Voice & Ensemble Award for ‘Rivales’ recording with Sandrine Piau
  • American violinist Stella Chen is Young Artist of the Year
  • The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen wins Orchestra of the Year in the only public vote
  • International audiences can watch highlights from the ceremony on, Gramophone and Classic FM websites from Sunday 8 October at 7pm

In its centenary year, Gramophone magazine today [4 October 2023] revealed the winners of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2023 at astarry event in London. Widely regarded as the Oscars of classical music, the Awards celebrate exceptional recordings, artists and labels of the past year. 

Among the biggest cheers of the night was for Dame Felicity Lott, one of the UK’s most beloved sopranos, who was there to collect the Lifetime Achievement Award, honouring her illustrious career on the opera stage, concert hall and on record, with a discography of more than 100 recordings. Internationally acclaimed for her interpretations of the great operatic roles of Mozart and Strauss in a career that saw her perform at English National Opera, Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera, Dame Felicity’s devotion to song recital and recording was also celebrated, having helped introduce a new generation to the artform as a founder member of Graham Johnson’s Songmaker’s Almanac. Gramophone noted that “while she had the fine vocal technique and authority on stage that might have invited reverence, it is the warmth of her performances – ‘humanity’ seems the right word – that one remembers above all”. Reflecting on her career as she thanked Gramophone, Dame Felicity said: “I’ve had such a wonderful time!”

Recording of Year, the most coveted accolade of the night, went to Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 on Deutsche Grammophon. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Soo-Jin Hong and Principal Clarinet Johnny Sabatier Teyssier collected the Award at the ceremony and said: “we are very proud and honoured… our Orchestra is so thrilled… and they’re going to be having a big party tomorrow!” The recording also won the Orchestral Award, with Gramophone stating that “Nielsen has surely never sounded better on record”.

French soprano Véronique Gens was awarded Artist of the Year, celebrating her ability to get to the heart of every role she sings and her supreme reign over French opera and song. Accepting the Award in person, Véronique said “Artist of the Year – wow! It means so much to me, it’s totally unexpected and a true surprise. What an honour”, before treating the audience to a performance of Hahn’s Le dernier valse with pianist Dylan Perez and the London Mozart Players. Véronique was also victorious in the Voice and Ensemble category with her ‘Rivales’ recording with Sandrine Piau on Alpha.

American violinist Stella Chen became Young Artist of the Year, an Award that recognises extraordinary youthful talent and promise for the future. The Award reflected her rise after winning First Prize at the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Competition and recent foray into recording, with her ‘Stella x Schubert’ album on Platoon described as “an all-Schubert recital of fine architecture, tonal beauty and inner soul” by Gramophone. Stella also performed at the ceremony, joining the London Mozart Players in Mozart’s Rondo in C, K373.

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen won Orchestra of the Year, the only Award to be voted on by the public. Claiming over 21% of the 34,000 votes cast, Artistic Director Paavo Järvi thanked the public for their support in a video acceptance speech, as well as his colleagues at the Orchestra.

Label of the Year was awarded to BIS, honouring the achievements of the Swedish label in its 50th year; Gramophone noted that “listening to a BIS album feels like being a privileged witness to creativity at its most inspired and inspiring”. Collected by BIS founder Robert von Bahr, he said “I’m humbled – I’ve hoped for this for many, many years and it’s finally come true”. Several BIS artists also performed, including pianist Yevgeny Sudbin (joined by his 12-year old daughter Bella, the youngest ever performer at the Awards) and flautist Sharon Bezaly, who played the third movement of CPE Bach’s Flute Concerto in D minor with the London Mozart Players.

The Concept Album Award was given to British mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston and theorbo-player Toby Carr for their album ‘Battle Cry: She Speaks’, a collection of modern and 16th and 17th century works that revisit and rebalance the obsession of early music with female abandonment and lament.

The Spatial Audio Award was given to the Dolby Atmos restoration of Sir Georg Solti’s recording of Wagner’s Die Walküre, often considered one of the greatest studio recordings ever made, now expertly restored for the 21st century by Dominic Fyfe and Philip Siney.  

In the category awards, British violist Timothy Ridout won the Concerto Award for his recording of Elgar’s ‘Viola Concerto’ – a rarely-performed arrangement of the composer’s classic Cello Concerto for viola by Lionel Tertis – with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins. The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s recording of Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage under Edward Gardner – the first commercially available recording of the work in 50 years – won the Opera Award, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s album of works by composer Lotta Wennäkoski under Nicholas Collon won the Contemporary category, with Wennäkoski and harpist Sivan Magen accepting the Award. Krystian Zimerman’s long-awaited recording of piano works by Szymanowski won the Piano category, and Nurit Stark’s collection of Hungarian music for solo violin and viola was victorious in the Instrumental category.

The full list of winners can be found below and in Gramophone’s Awards issue, published 5 October.

James Jolly, Gramophone’s Editor-in-Chief and host for the eveningreceived a standing ovation as he revealed that after 25 years, this would be the last time he presents and leads the Gramophone Awards. Hesaid: “In Gramophone’s centenary year, it’s reassuring that none of the dynamism and sense of adventure that persuaded Compton Mackenzie to launch the magazine has been lost. Great artists, great music and loads of imagination are once again on display. The 2023 vintage is a fine barometer of everything that’s inspiring about the classical music world, and specifically the classical record industry.”

Full list of winners

Special Awards

Symphonies Nos 4 & 5
Danish National Symphony Orchestra / Fabio Luisi (Deutsche Grammophon)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT (sponsored by the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts)
Dame Felicity Lott

ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Raymond Weil)
Véronique Gens

YOUNG ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Classic FM)
Stella Chen

ORCHESTRA OF THE YEAR (in association with Apple Music)
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

LABEL OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Stagecast)

CONCEPT ALBUM (in partnership with Nordoff & Robbins)
‘Battle Cry: She Speaks’
Helen Charlston; Toby Carr (Delphian)

Category Awards

CHAMBER (sponsored by Wigmore Hall)
MOZART String Quintets, K515 & K516
Quatuor Ebène; Antoine Tamestit (Erato)

 Choral Works
Latvian Radio Choir / Sigvards Klava (Ondine)

CONCERTO (sponsored by Musicians’ Union)
ELGAR ‘Viola Concerto’
BLOCH Suite for Viola and Orchestra
Timothy Ridout; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins (Harmonia Mundi)

CONTEMPORARY (sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music)
LOTTA WENNÄKOSKI Sigla; Flounce; Sedecim
Sivan Magen; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas Collon (Ondine)

 Polyphonic Masses
Huelgas Ensemble / Paul Van Nevel (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

Bartók. Eötvös. Ligeti. Veress 
– Music for Solo Violin and Viola
Nurit Stark (BIS)

OPERA (sponsored by Mascarade Opera Foundation)
TIPPETT The Midsummer Marriage
Soloists; English National Opera Chorus; London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir / Edward Gardner (LPO)

ORCHESTRAL (sponsored by Lark Music Insurance)
NIELSEN Symphonies Nos 4 & 5
Danish National Symphony Orchestra / Fabio Luisi (Deutsche Grammophon)

PIANO (sponsored by Yamaha)
Krystian Zimerman (Deutsche Grammophon)

SONG (sponsored by Anderson Financial)
FAURÉ Complete Songs
Cyrille Dubois; Tristan Raës (Aparté)

VOICE AND ENSEMBLE (sponsored by
Sandrine Piau; Véronique Gens; Le Concert de la Loge / Julien Chauvin (Alpha)

Audiences around the world will be able to view highlights and performances from the ceremony on, Gramophone and Classic FM’s websites from Sunday, 8 October at 7pm (BST), sponsored by IMG Artists. The Gramophone Awards issue is on sale from 5 October.