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Violinist Julia Fischer Voted Artist of the Year

At 24, Julia Fischer has captured the prestigious Artist of the Year award from Classic FM Gramophone in Europe.
At 24, Julia Fischer has captured the prestigious Artist of the Year award from Classic FM Gramophone in Europe.

German violinist Julia Fischer was named Artist of the Year at the 2007 Classic FM Gramophone Awards ceremony, held Wednesday at London's Dorchester Hotel. The awards are considered among the most important worldwide for classical musicians. (See below for a complete list of winners.)

At 24, Fischer has already been hailed as "one of the great violinists of the 21st century," and last year the BBC Music Magazine gave her the Best Newcomer award.

At the awards ceremony, Fischer said she was happy to have been recognized by her fans, especially in England.

"I am very happy to receive this award, especially in the U.K., where I began my career by winning my first competition when I was 11 years old," Fischer said. "I deeply appreciate the belief of everyone who voted for me."

Indeed, many people did vote for Fischer. The awards are based on listener votes from 15 classical radio networks in 13 countries, with a combined audience reported at near 14 million people. This type of voting procedure marks a departure from the Gramophone Awards in years past, which relied solely on Gramophone Magazine critics.

Fischer began playing both the violin and the piano at age 3, taking lessons from her mother. Her first love was for the piano, but since her mother felt there were already too many keyboardists in the family, she encouraged her daughter to take up the violin.

Fischer says her dreams of becoming a musician began to solidify at age 6, when she saw the acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter on television.

Fischer quizzed her mother about Mutter's profession, asking, "How does she earn her money?" When her mother told her that Mutter got paid to play the violin, Fischer responded, "She's allowed to play the violin and she even gets money for it?"

Now Fischer, like her idol Mutter, makes her living playing violin with the world's great orchestras and in recital. The Bach performance heard here finds Fischer in concert at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Thanks to NPR member station WMHT, in Schenectady.

The full 2007 Classic FM Gramophone award-winners list:

Artist of the Year

Julia Fischer

Lifetime Achievement

Montserrat Caballé

Young Artist Award

Vasily Petrenko

Classic FM Magazine Award for Audience Innovation

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Special Achievement Award

Christopher Raeburn (veteran record producer)

Label of the Year

Deutsche Grammophon

WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award

Gramophone and New York-based radio station 96.3 WQXR-FM honor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela with the second annual WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award. Dudamel and his orchestra were chosen for their outstanding contribution to the world of classical music and the example they give of what music can do to transform people's lives.

Recording Awards:

Record of the Year (and winner of the Concerto category)

Brahms Piano Concertos, Nelson Freire; Leipzig Gewandaus Orchestra / Riccardo Chailly (Decca)

Editor's Choice Award

Mahler Symphony No. 2, Budapest Festival Orchestra / Ivan Fischer (Channel Classics)

Baroque instrumental

Handel Concerti Grossi, Academy of Ancient Music / Richard Egarr (Harmonia Mundi)

Baroque vocal

Handel Messiah (Dublin version, 1742), Dunedin Consort & Players / John Butt (Linn Records)

Chamber

Haas and Janácek String Quartets, Pavel Haas Quartet (Supraphon)

Choral

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, Dorothea Röschmann; Thomas Quasthoff; Berlin Radio Choir; Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle (EMI)

Contemporary

Julian Anderson Alhambra Fantasy, BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen (Ondine)

DVD

'Julian Bream: My Life in Music' (Avie)

Early Music

Byrd Laudibus in sanctis, The Cardinall's Music (Hyperion)

Historic Archive

Wagner Götterdämmerung, Bayreuth Festival Opera / Joseph Keilberth (Testament)

Historic Reissue

Moeran Symphony, etc., London Philharmonic Orchestra, New Philharmonia / Sir Adrian Boult (Lyrita)

Instrumental

Bach Cello Suites, Steven Isserlis (Hyperion)

Opera

Rossini Matilde di Shabran, conducted by Riccardo Frizza (Decca)

Orchestral

Prokofiev Complete Symphonies, London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev (Philips)

Recital

'Simon Keenlyside: Tales of Opera', Munich Radio Orchestra / Ulf Schirmer (Sony Classical)

Solo Vocal

R. Strauss Lieder, Jonas Kaufmann; Helmut Deutsch (Harmonia Mundi)

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.