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Composer Sofia Gubaidulina, aged 88, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal at a ceremony in London. Her Triple Concerto receives its UK premiere in Manchester on 14 December with the BBC Philharmonic and Omer Meir Wellber.

Sofia Gubaidulina received the Royal Philharmonic Society's highest honour, the Gold Medal, on 28 November at the RPS's Awards ceremony in London, presented in association with BBC Radio 3 who broadcast highlights from the event on Sunday 1 December at 8.45 pm. Dating back to 1870, the Centenary of Beethoven's birth, the Gold Medal has become one of the most privileged honours in the world of music. Recipients have included leading international performers and conductors as well as composers including Brahms, Elgar, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Britten and in more recent years Ligeti, Kurtág and Maxwell Davies.

Gubaidulina commented upon receiving the RPS Gold Medal:
“This award is especially precious because it comes as we are preparing to celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven. To that great composer belongs the merit of affirming in his work the love of harmony – which is the true meaning of the word ‘Philharmonic’. Let us hope that this may be a unique moment in the history of music - when growth for all mankind can really be achieved through works of art. I am infinitely grateful to the Royal Philharmonic Society for the honour that I have been shown.”

Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931) was born in the Tartar Republic of the USSR, studied in Kazan and Moscow, and is today acclaimed as the leading living Russian composer of her generation. Her works, often combining her Asian roots with her Christian faith, include the violin concerto Offertorium, the symphony Stimmen... verstummen, and the oratorio diptych St John Passion and St John Easter. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gubaidulina has lived in a small village outside Hamburg, Germany. Her 90th birthday is celebrated in 2021.

This season brings the world premiere of Gubaidulina's Beethoven-inspired God’s Wrath for orchestra, at the Salzburg Easter Festival under Christian Thielemann, and the German premiere of her third violin concerto Dialogue: I and You on 5 December with Vadim Repin and the Leipzig Gewandhaus under Andris Nelsons. First German performances of her oratorio On Love and Hatred take place next year at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and in a Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra residency under Christoph Eschenbach.

The UK premiere of Gubaidulina's Triple Concerto is presented by the BBC Philharmonic on 14 December in Manchester, programmed by the orchestra's new Chief Conductor Omer Meir Wellber in their first Bridgewater Hall concert since his appointment. Scored with the distinctive trio of violin, cello and bayan (a Russian chromatic button accordion), the work features soloists Vadim Gluzman, Johannes Moser and Elsbeth Moser in Manchester. The Triple Concerto was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons in 2017 and has since been performed in Zürich and Hannover, all with Elsbeth Moser as bayanist.

About the RPS Gold Medal
The Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal is the Society’s highest honour, awarded for the most outstanding musicianship and presented to the finest musicians of any nationality. It was initiated in 1870, the Centenary of Beethoven’s birth, to celebrate the close relationship between the Society and the composer. The medal bears the image of Beethoven depicted by Schaller in the iconic RPS bust.

Among the names on the list of honour are Johannes Brahms (1877), Fritz Kreisler (1904), Frederick Delius and Edward Elgar (1925), Richard Strauss (1936), John Barbirolli (1950), Kathleen Ferrier (1953), Igor Stravinsky (1954), Benjamin Britten (1964) Vladimir Horowitz (1974) Witold Lutoslawski (1986) and Leonard Bernstein (1987). Recent Gold Medal recipients include Martha Argerich, Dame Janet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel, Placido Domingo, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, György Kurtág, Jessye Norman, Sir Antonio Pappano, Thomas Quasthoff, Sir Simon Rattle, András Schiff, Sir John Tomlinson and Dame Mitsuko Uchida.

About the RPS
For over 200 years, the Royal Philharmonic Society has been at the heart of music, creating opportunities for musicians to excel, championing the vital role that music plays in all our lives. It all began in 1813 when a group of musicians set out to establish a series of orchestral concerts in London. The Society’s regular performances attracted world-class artists including Mendelssohn and Wagner, and it commissioned exhilarating new music for an eager public to hear: most famously, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. 200 years later, the Society continues to celebrate and empower musicians who – like its founders – strive to enrich society with all that they do. Through grants, commissions, coaching and performance opportunities, the RPS helps exciting young performers and composers find their voice. Through the renowned annual RPS Awards, the Society celebrates the quality, impact and ingenuity of the finest artists and creative forces at work today.


> Further information on Sofia Gubaidulina (Boosey & Hawkes)
> Further information on Sofia Gubaidulina (Sikorski)

>  Further information on Work: Triple Concerto

Photo: Ingrid von Kruse

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