The board of the Birgit Nilsson foundation has announced that the 2014 Birgit Nilsson Prize has been awarded to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The tri-ennial prize which is being awarded for only the third time in history, is a purse of $1 million for outstanding achievement in opera, concert, Lieder or oratorio. Previous winners are Placido Domingo in 2009 and Riccardo Muti in 2011.
Read more about the announcement. Meanwhile, Tom Service in The Guardian comments: “…here’s hoping the Vienna Phil will use the cash to establish a visionary music education project – perhaps they will commission some independent research into music and gender that will result in a gradual but fundamental redressing of the orchestra’s still overwhelmingly male culture, and begin to reorient the orchestra as a unique and treasurable – if controversial– phenomenon that belongs to the whole world of classical music, not just to the well-heeled audiences of festivals and opera performances (excluding the BBC Proms, of course).” Harsh but fair??