Jordi Savall receives the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award

28 sep 2015

The Catalan musician and maestro Jordi Savall will take receipt on October 12th of the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage at the Gulbenkian Foundation. The jury correspondingly sought to distinguish not only his exceptional qualities as an artist but also his humanist dimensions and its resulting contribution to the celebration of the multicultural history of Europe through its rich musical heritage. This year’s award also awards Special Mentions to the Danish radio and television broadcaster Adrian Lloyd Hughes and the Spanish cultural journalist Rafael Fraguas.

The Award, launched in 2013 by the CNC – the National Centre of Culture, in cooperation with Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage defence organisation that CNC represents in Portugal and the Portuguese Press Club, to distinguish those making exceptional contributions to the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and European ideas. The Award gains the support of the State Secretary for Culture, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Portugal Tourism.

Honoured by the award he will receive, Jordi Savall stated that the recognition of the work carried out by the International Ancient Music Foundation Centre, but also dedicated to the recovery and promotion of the musical heritage of the Spanish and European Renaissance and Baroque and his own “personal commitment to the intercultural dialogue between West and East and the interconnection of diverse cultures through music”. According to this Catalan maestro, this is encouraging support “above all in these especially difficult moments for those striving to ensure that music, beauty and culture may reach out to an ever larger number of peoples and countries and truly accessible across all social levels, without exception”.

With over five decades of career, Jordi Savall has become the leading exponent of ancient music at the world level. He has recorded over 230 albums spanning repertoires from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, with a particular emphasis on Hispanic and Mediterranean music. With the mezzo-soprano Monserrat Figueras, his wife, who passed away in 2011, he launched the International Ancient Music Foundation Centre, which integrates various units: the instrumental Hespérion XX (1974), the vocal La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and the orchestral Concerto das Nações, with its Baroque repertoire played on original instruments (1989). Jordi Savall has inspired a world movement dedicated to ancient music that brings together not only the musicians but also the enthusiastic appreciators of this musical genre.

Sitting on the Award Jury are Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, president of the National Centre of Culture, João David Nunes (Portuguese Press Club), Eduardo Marçal Grilo (Gulbenkian Foundation director), Francisco Pinto Balsemão (Impresa group president), Irina Subotic, Piet Jaspaert, José-María Ballester and Marianne Ytterdal (Europa Nostra).

This European Award bears the name of Helena Vaz da Silva (1939-2002) in memory of the Portuguese journalist, writer, cultural activist and politician and her notable contribution towards fostering cultural heritage and European ideals. The award is attributed annually to a European citizen whose career has been distinguished by the diffusion, defence and promotion of European cultural heritage, whether through literary and musical works or journalist reports, articles, chronicles, photographs, documentaries, fiction films and radio and/or television programs. The Italian writer Claudio Magris was the first recipient of the European Award, in 2013; with the Turkish writer and Literature Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk receiving the award last year.


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