The distinguished German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal at the 20th RPS Music Awards on 12 May 2009.
The presentation was made by Sir Charles Mackerras, himself a gold medallist of the Society, who read the citation:
“Thomas Quasthoff is a singer with a rare capacity to inspire listeners of all ages, be it in classical music or jazz, but not just for the luminous beauty of his voice or his sensitive colouring of words. His life is also an inspiration to many. With courage and a great sense of humour he has refused to allow any adversity to deter him from his pursuit of excellence in all that he does, and as a result - as musician, teacher, writer, and raconteur - he has enriched and delighted audiences the world over. Thomas Quasthoff is truly an artist universally admired and loved.”
The RPS Gold Medal was initiated in 1870 to commemorate the centenary of Beethoven’s birth and bears the image of Beethoven. It is the Society’s highest honour and is awarded internationally for the most outstanding musicianship.
José Antonio Abreu, founder of the revolutionary Venezeulan ' El Sistema' which educates the poorest children in musical schools around the country: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2008.
DID YOU KNOW?
1830: Midsummer Night’s Dream is ‘very beautiful, and encored, but it is awfully, fearfully difficult, so much so that last Saturday morning Mendelssohn was SEVEN hours rehearsing.’