Illustrious German mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig was on hand to receive the lifetime achievement honor Wednesday night at the fourth Midem Classical Awards, the final event on the international trade fair's 2008 program.

Ludwig, who received a standing ovation at the ceremony, celebrated her 80th birthday as honorary patron of the 42nd annual Midem.

The artist gave her farewell tour in 1993 and 1994, following a career in which she performed with the likes of Herbert von Karajan, Karl Böhm, Otto Klemperer and Leonard Bernstein. EMI Classics is scheduled to release a special box set of Ludwig's recordings in the spring.

Other winners at the Classical Awards included American conductor David Zinman, with the artist of the year trophy; Robert von Bahr, founder of the Swedish label Bis Records, with the label of the year award; Polish violinist Patrycja Pietkutowska in the contemporary music category; and English Navarra Quartet, which took out the outstanding young artist title.

The jury nomination prize went to the recording of "Vin Herbé" (Harmonia Mundi) by Franck Martin, and the recording of the year award was presented to Daniel Barenboim, for the complete "Barenboim on Beethoven" set, issued on DVD by EMI.

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