The awarding ceremony of the laureates of the first in Russia Award for the Best Audio Recording of Classical Music "Pure sound" was held in Moscow

On October 23, a gala concert and the award ceremony for the laureates of the International Award for the Best Audio Recording of Russian Classical Music “Pure Sound” were held on the stage of the New Opera Theater. The award was established by the Russian Musical Union in 2018, and despite the fact that it was held for the first time, it became the largest event in the Russian recording industry.

The stars of the Russian classical scene performed at the gala concert dedicated to the Award winners: Yuri Bashmet and the soloists quintet of the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble, Alexander Gindin, Lyubov Petrova, Boris Andrianov, Lyudmila Berlinskaya and Arthur Ansel, Intrada vocal ensemble, orchestra of the New Opera Theater, directed by Yuri Medyanik, Ivan Chepkin, Dmitry Kolotilo and Maria Abaeva. The musicians performed works by Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and other composers.

Leading musicians, conductors, and sound engineers praised the potential of the award and its importance for the development of a professional musical community. According to the Chairman of the Jury, Professor at Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, Artistic Director of the Moscow State Academic Philharmonic Society, Member of the Council of the Russian Musical Union, composer, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Alexander Tchaikovsky, this is a unique event for Russia, which has no analogues in the world: “We have never paid attention specifically for recording, for sound engineering work, and a sound engineer in music is like a cameraman in a film. I hope that our award will continue to develop, that the monetary equivalent of the award will increase. Most importantly, this will encourage young children to engage in sound engineering, although this is a very difficult work. Recording classical music is much more difficult than pop music. There should be completely different ears and a different education. In addition, I think the award will be attractive for lovers of classical music. There are a lot of genres here: opera, and modern opera, romances, archival music, which distinguishes our award from the Grammy.”

The Chairman of the Guild of sound engineers of the Russian Musical Union, Maria Soboleva, agreed that “Pure Sound” is a unique award: “It is not given out for composition, performance or sound engineering – we have had such competitions for quite a long time. This is an award of releases, where every person who put his hand and talent to their creation becomes a laureate. And therefore, the sound engineer, producer, performer, and living composer are all participants in this award. In my opinion, this is a brilliant idea.”

Director of the New Opera Theater Dmitry Sibirtsev also emphasized the importance of developing and popularizing national awards: “Тhe Oscars and other awards existing abroad are good, but we need to have our own Russian analogues. Our country deserves it. There are very few specialists like Russian in the world.”

Speaking about the selection of the finalists, the composer and conductor, General Director of the Russian Musical Union, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Alexander Klevitsky drew attention to the fact that the jury members had a very difficult task, because in addition to the reference sound, they had to hear how the recording was done technically. “The experts could hear the wonderful play of the musicians, but the sound from the point of view of sound engineering might not be very good, and then someone would lose points. I think our award will draw public attention to the art of sound recording and will provide strong support for the academic genre, and our national composer school,” Klevitsky explained.

For his part, the jury member, chief guest conductor of Yekaterinburg Opera House, Oliver von Dohnányi expressed hope that the “Pure Sound” Award would improve the quality and range of classical music recordings in Russia, and attract new specialists and listeners. “All entries for the competition, and there were more than 150, were of the highest level, and it was extremely difficult to choose a winner. With such a high quality of interpretation, each assessment is a manifestation of a purely subjective preference. I am sure that this award will become an important part of the cultural life of the world of classical music. Believe me, there is no better school for a young artist than working in a professional sound studio,” said Maestro.

Before performing at the gala concert, pianist Lyudmila Berlinskaya shared her impressions of the event: “There was no such award in Russia, this is a huge event. In the world of sound recording, in principle, there is no analogue of such an award, that is why “Pure Sound” is an event of dual importance for all musicians. This is a huge work, but sound engineers have always remained in the shadow. We are so happy that they came to the fore, because without them we would not exist.”

Awarding the finalists of in the category “Symphonic Music”, the Rector of Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory Alexander Sokolov noted: “Today is a celebration of co-creation, when in any category there is always a composer, sound engineer and performer. This alliance must be appreciated. Moscow Conservatory already has graduate school of sound engineers.”

The winners of the 1st “Pure Sound” Award, who received a first degree diploma and a cash prize, were the following audio recordings:

In the nomination “Symphonic Music”:

“Mikhail Chekalin. “Last Seasons” and “Black Square”.” Performers: Moscow Chamber Orchestra “The Seasons” (“Vremena Goda”), conductor Vladislav Bulakhov; State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg, conductor Alexander Polishchuk. Sound engineers: Ulrich Ruetsel, Mikhail Chekalin. Publisher: Mir Records Eurock USA, CD Reissue – CCnC RECORDS.

In the nomination “Chamber Vocal Music”:

“N.Ya. Myaskovsky. Vocal cycles for baritone.” Performers: Ilya Kuzmin (baritone) and Olga Solovyova (piano). Sound engineer: Ilya Dontsov.

In the nomination “Opera”:

“Vladimir Rannev. “Prose”.” Performers: N’Caged Vocal Ensemble, Stanislavsky Electrotheatre Choir. Sound engineers: Polina Beletskaya, Anastasia Khlystova. Publisher: FANCYMUSIC.

In the nomination “Choral Works”:

“George Sviridov. Anthology of choral music a caрреlla”. Performers: State Academic Choral Chapel of Russia named after A.A. Yurlova, conductor Gennady Dmitryak. Sound engineer: Gennady Papin. Publisher: Usb Labs LLC.

In the nomination “Chamber Instrumental Music. Ensemble”:

“Boris Tchaikovsky. Chamber and solo music for cello.” Performers: Hayk Kazazyan (violin), Christopher Marwood (cello), Olga Solovyova (piano). Sound engineer: Ilya Dontsov. Publisher: NAXOS.

“Nikolai Metner. Complete collection of works for violin and piano.” Performers: Nikita Borisoglebsky (violin), Ekaterina Derzhavina (piano). Sound engineer: Wolfram Nehls. Publisher: Profil, Günter Hänssler Edition.

In the nomination “Chamber Instrumental Music. Solo”:

“Alexey Stanchinsky. Compositions for Piano.” Performer: Olga Solovieva (piano). Sound engineer: Ilya Dontsov.

In the nomination “Concert for Solo Instrument with Orchestra”:

“Ephraim Podgaits. “Double Mirror”. Concert for button accordion, cello and symphony orchestra.” Performers: Russian National Orchestra, conductor Mikhail Pletnev. Soloists: Friedrich Lips (accordion), Alexander Buzlov (cello). Sound engineer: Victor Osadchev. In the nomination “Publication of Archival Audio Recordings”:

“Sergei Prokofiev. Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra in C major, op. 26.” Performers: Van Kleiburn (piano); All-Union Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Recording from a concert in the Great Hall of Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory of June 3, 1960. Restorer: Elena Doynikova. Publisher: Moscow Conservatory Records.

For a complete list of Pure Sound Award winners, please visit