Pianist Igor Levit has been named the recipient of the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award. The Award was announced today by Daniel R. Gustin, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. One of the most prestigious honors in music, the Gilmore Artist Award is presented every four years on a non-competitive basis to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, is a superb performing artist and a profound musician with both charisma and breadth of musicianship; who desires and can sustain a performing career as a major international concert artist and can make a real impact on music; and whose developing career can benefit from the enhancement the Award’s money and prestige provide. Mr. Levit will receive $300,000 in support of his musical and career goals over the next four years. Previous recipients of the Gilmore Artist Award are Rafał Blechacz (2014), Kirill Gerstein (2010), Ingrid Fliter (2006), Piotr Anderszewski (2002), Leif Ove Andsnes (1998), Ralf Gothóni (1994), and David Owen Norris (1991).
Mr. Levit will give his first public performance as the 2018 Gilmore Artist in an event presented by WQXR at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space on Thursday, January 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by American Public Media’s Fred Child, the event will include interviews with Mr. Levit, Mr. Gustin, Pierre Van der Westhuizan, who succeeds Mr. Gustin as Director of the Gilmore this year, along with members of the Artistic Advisory Committee who chose Mr. Levit as Gilmore Artist. Mr. Levit will perform Bach’s Chaconne in D minor (transcribed by Brahms for left hand alone) and Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata. The Greene Space event will be streamed live on WQXR.org—New York City’s only classical music radio station—on WQXR’s Facebook page, and on Performance Today’s Facebook page.
“Igor Levit is not only a superb pianist but also a deeply thoughtful and insightful artist, and he made a deep impression on all of us who followed his performances over the last three years,” Mr. Gustin said. “He exemplifies the pianist that The Gilmore was formed to support. Igor will be the final Gilmore Artist chosen during my tenure as Director, and I am honored to have led an organization that has made a significant impact on so many great pianists’ lives.”
Mr. Levit said, “It is a great honor to receive the Gilmore Award, and I am deeply grateful. The news almost leaves me speechless, but I feel privileged, blessed, and excited. For me, the purpose of music making and being an artist is to share—to share the past, present, and future of music with my audience as best I can. This award will help me to continue on this path and broaden the possibilities of that sharing.”
Hailed as “one of the essential artists of his generation” by The New York Times, Igor Levit has quickly distinguished himself as a pianist of immense technical prowess and intellectual depth. From his early success in Europe, he has gone on to build an international following through concert performances around the world, universally acclaimed recordings for Sony Classical, and even social media channels, through which he speaks out as both an artist and global citizen. His recording projects and concert programming are noted for their ambition—from his debut recording of Beethoven’s most complex piano works and a monumental, three-disc set of variation cycles by Bach, Beethoven, and Rzewski, to performance cycles of all 32 Beethoven sonatas.
Igor Levit’s 2017-18 season began with a tour to Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the Bavarian State Orchestra led by Kirill Petrenko, with whom he debuted last season. The core of his concerto repertoire this season is formed by Beethoven’s last three piano concertos, which he performs with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Jakub Hrůša), NDR Radiophilharmonie (Andrew Manze), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Manfred Honeck); BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Thomas Søndergård), Kammerakademie Potsdam (Antonello Manacorda), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Manfred Honeck), and at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Additional engagements include a European tour in April performing Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Lionel Bringuier) and, following his appearances at the Gilmore Festival in May, a German tour performing Mendelssohn’s First and Second Piano Concertos with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Florian Donderer).