Venezuelan conductor Gustavo "the Dude" Dudamel bagged the coveted Artist Of The Year Award tonight at the Gramophone Awards, saying that 2011 had been a "wonderful year of music-making" with his three musical families, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
The "Oscars of the classical music world" -- which took place at London's Dorchester Hotel -- are the world's most influential classical music awards, presented by Gramophone magazine in association with Steinway & Sons.
Selecting from more than 1,000 new releases from the last year, the magazine's 47 critics deemed the Pavel Haas Quartet's album Dvorák String Quartets Nos. 12 and 13" (Supraphon) Recording Of The Year. Wigmore Hall Live (launched in 2005) became the first live label to win the Label Of The Year Award, beating established studios to the crown.
One to watch, Montenegrin guitarist Miloš KaradagliÃ"Â‡ scooped Young Artist of the Year and Specialist Classical Chart Award for his debut album "The Guitar" (Deutsche Grammophon) which made him the first classical artist to have a number one debut album since violinist Nicola Benedetti in 2005.
Gustavo Dudamel said: "On accepting this award I do so on behalf of my musical families and young musicians everywhere. Let's all continue to keep extraordinary music alive, sharing the power and beauty of music with everybody."
This year music from six of the winning CDs will be available on iTunes on a free awards playlist until Nov. 20. There are also free Gramophone podcasts and music from previous years' winners. To download the playlist visit www.iTunes.com/gramawards.
Rossini: Stabat Mater; Netrebko; DiDonato; Brownlee; D'Arcangelo; Santa Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra / Antonio Pappano (EMI Classics)
CPE Bach: Harpsichord Concertos. Andreas Staier; Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Mullejans (Harmonia Mundi)
Handel: Apollo e Dafne. La Risonanza (Glossa)
Dvorák String Quartets. Pavel Haas Quartet (Supraphon)
Elgar: The Kingdom. Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder (Hallé)
Debussy, Ravel, Massenet: Concertante piano works. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet; BBCSO/Tortelier (Chandos)
Birtwistle: Night's Black Bird. Hallé Orchestra/Ryan Wigglesworth (NMC)
Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere - a film by Eric Schultz (Arthaus)
Verdi: Don Carlo. Villazón; Poplovskaya; Keenlyside/Antonio Pappano (EMI)
Striggio: Mass in 40 parts. I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth (Decca)
Mahler/Cooke: Symphony No 10. Philharmonia, LSO/Berthold Goldschmidt (Testament)
Brahms: Handel Variations etc. Murray Perahia (Sony Classical)
Rossini: Ermione. Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra/David Parry (Opera Rara)
Shostakovich: Symphony No 10. RLPO/Vasily Petrenko (Naxos)
Verismo Arias. Jonas Kaufmann; Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano (Decca)
Britten: Songs and Proverbs of William Blake. Gerald Finley; Julius Drake (Hyperion)