Zubin Metha Wins Lifetime Achievement Award at Germany's 2011 ECHO Klassik Awards
Zubin Metha Wins Lifetime Achievement Award at Germany's 2011 ECHO Klassik Awards

In a unique moment last Sunday night (Oct 2), conductors Zubin Metha and Daniel Barenboim performed segments of one of Tschaikowsky's polonaises together on stage during the 18th-annual German Classical ECHO awards. 75-year-old Mehta, who was presented with the ECHO Lifetime Achievement award that night, received the award from longtime friend and colleague Barenboim, who lauded Mehta's achievements, both in musical and social circles. Metha is the lifetime musical director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and a supporter of young talent in India and Israel.

Held at Berlin's Konzerthaus in the Gendarmen market, the awards honored 60 musicians this year, including Leipzig soprano and "Punk-Queen" Simone Kermes, Norwegian violinist Vilde Fang, and Chinese pianist Yuja Wang.

Mexican tenor Rolando Villanzón and the quintet Spark received the "classic beyond borders" award, while U.S. baritone Thomas Hampson was honored as Singer of the Year.

Pianist Lang Lang was awarded with the German ECHO Classic award as bestseller of the year for his "Live in Vienna" CD and DVD. The second best-selling CD of the year was the Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo's debut album "The Italian Tenor."

The German television channel ZDF broadcasted the show two hours later, drawing 1.4 million viewers, sharply contrasting the 2.33 million who watched in 2010. The German classical market has a market share of 7.5 percent of the total German record market - €1.67 billion - in 2010.

"I am very happy that again one of our artists got this prestigious award as newcomer of the year," Frank Briegmann, president of Universal Music Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Deutsche Grammophon, told Billboard. "The example of Yuja Wang demonstrates that, next to our successful work with established stars, we are also successful in our continuous search for young talents to be a partner for their career because we want to open classical music for more young people."

Other winners at the 2011 ECHO Classical Awards:

Category 1:

Female singer of the year
Simone Kermes "Colori d'Amore" (Sony Classical)

Category 2:
Singer of the year
Thomas Hampson "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal)

Category 3:
Instrumentalist of the year (Accordion)
Teodoro Anzellotti "The Goldberg Variations" (Music Edition Winter & Winter)
Female Instrumentalist of the year (Violin)
Lisa Batiashvili "Echoes Of Time" (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal)
Instrumentalist of the year (Guitar)
Frank Bungarten "Villa Lobos: Sämtliche Werke für Gitarre" (MDG)
Instrumentalist of the year (Violoncello)
Truls Mørk "Bach: VioloncelloConcerte" (Virgin Classics/EMI)
Instrumentalist of the year (Piano)
Murray Perahia "Brahms: Händelvariationen" (Sony Classical)

Category 4:
Conductor of the year
Andris Nelsons "Strawinsky: Der Feuervogel" (Orfeo)

Category 5:
Ensemble of the year (new Instruments)
Hagen Quartett "30" (Myrios Classics)
Ensemble of the year (historical Instruments)
Hespèrion XXI "Dinastia Borgia" (Alia Vox/harmonia mundi)
Ensemble of the year (Vocal Music)
Huelgas Ensemble "PraeBACHtorius" (DHM/Sony)

Category 6: Lifetime Achievement Award
Zubin Mehta

For more winners, click to go to the ECHO awards website.