The distinguished prize – a silver lyre trophy – is presented by the Society, the oldest charity in the UK dedicated to supporting the future of music. Since 2003 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been the media partner for the awards.
The awards, in thirteen separate categories, include one for performers, composers, programmers, audience engagement, communication, learning and participation. They can be awarded to nominees of any nationality.
They were presented Tuesday night at a special dinner for the cream of Great Britain’s classical music scene as well as music connoisseurs who are members of the Society.
Rosemary Johnson, general director of the Royal Philharmonic Society had this to say about the risen star, now conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the US.
“What Andris has done with the Birmingham Orchestra is very meaningful in how he integrated the orchestra into the social scene and made changes with his work to the whole country,” she said.
The experts who chose Nelsons over other esteemed candidates cited his outstanding talent for interpreting the works of Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss especially, but also his sense for new works by young composers.
“We all serve something higher – the composer, the orchestra. It’s a mystical process, has a lot to do with fluids, psychology, great mutual respect and discipline. When you study to become a conductor – there are no guarantees,” said the honoree himself to the attendees of the dinner upon accepting his Silver Lyre trophy.