Yesterday afternoon, at a prestigious ceremony in Konzerthaus Berlin, Benny Andersson was presented with an Opus Klassik award in recognition of his solo album Piano.
The prize is a new one and this year represents the first opportunity The Association for the Promotion of Classical Music has had to honour outstanding classical artists and sound recordings.
“Classical music in Germany has to be honoured with its own prize,” said Burkhard Glashoff, CEO of the Association for the Advancement of Classical Music. “In this respect we developed a concept for a new music prize that recognises exceptional achievement and reflects the industry in all its diversity,” he explained.
The winners were selected by a jury of music industry experts.
Benny was presented with the award for ‘Classics Without Boundaries’, by the German singer and leader of the Palast Orchestra, Max Raabe.
In his acceptance speech, Benny spoke of how he had been extremely surprised and incredibly humbled to have been nominated for such a prestigious prize.
He said that he had originally only made the album so that his grandchildren would have a recording of him playing but was now beginning to think it had been a rather good idea! He also said that it felt particularly special as it was the first award he had received just for him, rather than as part of a group such as ABBA or BAO.
During the prize-giving concert, which was recorded and broadcast by the German television channel ZDF, Benny performed music from CHESS as well as Thank You For The Music, together with the concert house’s orchestra and the other celebrated artists, for the concert’s finale.
Other live performances included opera stars Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez, Regula Mühlemann, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, 4 Times Baroque and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last May.
A special edition of the album Piano (including two bonus tracks just released to digital media outlets Money, Money, Money and Jag hör) will be released in November.