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The Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig

The Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig

As part of the 2014 Bachfest Leipzig, the Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig, made of Meissen porcelain, was awarded to the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Since this award has previously gone only to outstanding soloists and conductors, this was the first time that an ensemble specializing in eighteenth-century performance practice has been honored with the Bach Medal.

During the presentation ceremony on 20 June 2014 in the Altes Rathaus in Leipzig, the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, and the director of the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Peter Wollny, declared that, “The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin includes in its core repertoire the transition from Baroque to Classical, thereby encompassing the musical generations of J. S. Bach, his sons and beyond, all the way to Mozart. Scarcely any other ensemble would be better suited to this honor on the occasion of the three-hundredth birthday of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, . . . and the individual accomplishments of each ensemble member, along with their unique ability to play so well together, . . . are noted with greatest appreciation.”

The jury consisted of leading representatives of the Leipzig’s musical life: Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Christoph Wolff, Dr. Elmar Weingarten and choirmaster Prof. Georg Christoph Biller, the director of the Leipzig Opera, Prof. Ulf Schirmer, the music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Riccardo Chailly, and the Rector of the University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig, Prof. Robert Ehrlich.

Founded in 1982 in the former East Berlin by members of the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin was one of the very few instrumental ensembles of the German Democratic Republic that pursued historical performance practice, a discipline that was generally dismissed as being nothing more than a “Western fad.” Today, the ensemble belongs to the world elite of chamber orchestras. Concerts and recordings of the orchestra have set interpretive standards for the works of Bach, and the Academy is regularly featured at major musical centers throughout the world.

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin