WORLD OF SONG AWARD
To raise public consciousness of art song, and to honor those who have devoted their creative lives to this beautiful and enriching form of music, each year the Lehmann Foundation presents the "World of Song Award," consisting of a beautifully framed document designed by noted calligrapher Denis Lund, to a deserving art song performer or composer.
Janet Baker, the distinguished English mezzo-soprano has been selected by the Board of Directors of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation as the seventh recipient of its annual World of Song Award.
Daniel Gundlach, the chairman of the World of Song Award committee, stated, "Throughout her career, Janet Baker gave wholly of her artistic self in the service of music. We are particularly privileged to acknowledge her, given her lifelong dedication to art song. On a personal note, it affords me great pleasure to offer this award to a singer whose work I have revered for many years."
Linn Maxwell, newly-elected president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, speaking for the entire board of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, said, "I am thrilled to be able to honor a singer whose artistry has touched so many lives. Dame Janet Baker has made a lasting impact on musicians and audiences worldwide. We are pleased to announce her gracious acceptance of the 2007 World of Song Award."
Lindsey Christensen, a board member of the LLF, praised the awardee’s contribution to art song thus: "For singers and teachers in my generation Janet Baker was the embodiment of the singer in service to the music. The beauty and humility of her performances inspired countless singers to dedicate their lives to song."
Gary Hickling, founder and past president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation stated, "Janet Baker’s beautiful, recognizable sound, the clear diction as well as intense involvement with the words and the overall meaning of the poem, the logical, technically masterful and musical way she dealt with each phrase, all are deeply satisfying. But there was another dimension that always sets her song performances above the huge field of excellent singers, past and present, and that was her palpable joy in what she was singing."
Upon learning of the tribute, Dame Janet responded, "I am honoured indeed to be a recipient of the Award. In 1957 I was… invited to take part in master classes which Lotte Lehmann gave in the Wigmore Hall… I was heard by the Director of the most prestigious agency in the country… who became my representatives as a result… Lotte Lehmann was therefore responsible for giving me a marvelous chance at a very important moment and I was always grateful to her, not just for that but for her comments and wisdom; her name was revered by all of us and her presence was unforgettable… I am proud and delighted to think that, once again and after so many years, I am associated with her name in such a delightful way and I cannot adequately express my feelings of gratitude to the Board for a mark of respect which I appreciate so deeply."
John Wustman, the distinguished American collaborative pianist and educator, was chosen by the Board of Directors of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation as recipient of its annual 2007 World of Song Award.
The award alternates among composers, singers, and collaborative pianists. It serves to raise public consciousness of art song and to honor those who have devoted their creative lives to this enriching form of music.
Lindsey Christiansen, a member of the Foundation’s board of directors who sponsored Wustman’s nomination, offered this comment: "The numbers of singers, pianists and audience members for whom John Wustman has ignited the love affair with German lieder is legion. My encounter with his passionate and exacting love of this repertoire changed my life forever."
Daron Hagen, president of the Lehmann Foundation, summed up the feelings of the entire board of directors: "The loyalty with which John Wustman has served this noble art have been matched by very few and the fervor of his commitment is unparalleled. In so many ways he has been a trailblazer in his field, and elevated the role of the accompanist to an equal partner with the singer. The Lehmann Foundation is thrilled to recognize him for a lifetime of song."
Daniel Gundlach, chairman of the World of Song committee, recognized Wustman’s contribution thus: "John Wustman has influenced generations of pianists and singers. His dedication to art song, in particular the works of Wolf and Schubert, has been unwavering. I am proud to be one such student whose musical life was enriched by his example and I am proud that he is being celebrated by the Lehmann Foundation for his immeasurable contribution to the world of song."
Upon finding that he was to receive the award, Wustman himself said: "With my heart full of love and gratitude I accept the World of Song award from the Lotte Lehmann Foundation. We go along very happily and content and then such a surprise as to find that I am receiving this great honor. There are good things in this life."
The citation (see illustration at left) consists of a beautifully framed document designed by noted calligrapher Denis Lund.
In acknowledging the 2006 prize, Pulitzer Prizewinning American composer Dominick Argento wrote: "I am highly honored and grateful to have been selected as the 2006 recipient of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation's World of Song Award. To have one's name even distantly linked with Lotte Lehmann is a great satisfaction in itself. To realize that the selection was made by one's most esteemed colleagues greatly increases that satisfaction." Click here to view the award.
Eminent baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau accepted the Award on the occasion of his 80th birthday on 28 May 2005. Click here to see his reply, and here to view the award. In his thank you he wrote: "What a wonderful surprise! Thank you so much for a joy to my 80th birthday. This is a great honor!! I often think of the wonderful Lotte Lehmann and therefore am especially greatful... Yours ever, [signed] Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau." The note card on which he wrote this reply includes one of his own landscape drawings "signed" in the lower right hand corner.
The collaborative pianist and scholar Graham Johnson won the World of Song Award in 2004. (Click here to see it.) You may view the document and read about the various aspects of the art song arena in which Mr Johnson has been active and influential.
In 2003, on his 80th birthday, the Award was presented to the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, author and collaborative pianist, Ned Rorem. The man who Time Magazine called "the world's best composer of art songs," possesses a special genius for prosody and melodic beauty.
In 2002, celebrated Swiss tenor Hugues Cuénod received the award. Having devoted nearly his entire career to the craft of art song interpretation, Cuénod has performed all over the world. He continued to share his awesome gifts with students and teachers in master classes until the age of 95. Cuénod received the Award on his 100th birthday.
One of the most celebrated American accompanists of the last century, Dalton Baldwin, was the recipient of the award in 2001. After a 40-year collaboration in art song with the renowned French baritone, Gérard Souzay, Baldwin continues to play not only for the worlds most accomplished performers, but for singers of all ages who share a passion for his favorite medium. He conducts master classes in song in eight different countries each year, and is a faculty member of the Westminster Choir College. The Award was presented to him on his 70th birthday.