The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich – The host as award winner
As hosts, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich warmly welcomed its European guests. Together with its music director Paavo Järvi, it received the European Culture Prize from SRF director Nathalie Wappler. Above all, she acknowledged that the orchestra had not only won a new audience in the industrial district of its hometown, but was also able to renovate its home concert hall, the famous Tonhalle, in the middle of the corona pandemic. The top orchestra is "not afraid to combine the popular with the contemporary" and its music reminds us of "what we urgently need: to listen, to pay attention, to train our own perception". Järvi illustrated the spirit of the evening in particularly impressive words in view of the many crises in the world: "A symphony orchestra is a good example of how we could model our society: 32 nationalities are represented here, highly talented, professional and full of respect. As an Estonian, it has never been more important to me than in these times to be a European.”
Mario Adorf – European Culture Award for a dazzling life's work
In the beginning there was a confession: "I was one of your biggest groupies for a very long time," Iris Berben adored her greatest idol. "You love people, and that's perhaps one of the biggest secrets why people love you." The European Cultural Forum also regularly honors artists outside the music scene who have a special position in their genres. With Mario Adorf, a unique acting legend was honored for her life's work. His role model effect for entire generations of actors received special recognition from a grateful audience. Adorf never had it easy with his hometown: Born in Zurich almost exactly 92 years ago, the boy grew from existential experiences such as fear and hunger. But he returned, became an extra and assistant director at the theater and experienced his big breakthrough. The fact that he was honored for his life's work in Zurich of all places filled Mario Adorf with great gratitude, because "three unusual events for me coincided here" - birth, study and discovery. In a moving speech, he attested that his homeland was "not only in the heart of Europe, but also with my heart in Europe", and that "in the worst crisis since the Second World War".
Die Toten Hosen – 40 years of power rock
When they were founded, they were all still students: the dashing boys from Toten Hosen. For the first time, the power rockers performed together with the Tonhalle Orchestra on their 40th stage anniversary and landed a world premiere in Zurich with their symphonic version of their hit "Alles aus Liebe". Lead singer Campino thanked him for a “touching evening”: “There is so much class in one room that we particularly appreciate it after two years of Corona.” Laudator Jan Weiler certified the musicians to be “total artists – without studying or training “, who would have acquired their great skills autodidactically. "Somehow you look as if you've been on a class trip for 40 years that never ends." The Toten Hosen were not only honored for their unprecedented career, but also for their social commitment, because they have been making themselves heard for many years and clearly relate Position against xenophobia, racism, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism.
Nigel Kennedy – A frontier worker and bridge builder
He is probably the most beloved enfant terrible of music and at the same time a devilish violinist: Nigel Kennedy received the European Cultural Prize for music that constantly crosses borders. The famous Englishman has been trying for years to break down the boundaries between classical and popular music, just as he is constantly devoting himself to breaking down other barriers of all kinds - whether related to countries, people or gender. In his acceptance speech, Kennedy invoked the unifying power of music, the creation of which “has a lot to do with inclusion”. In his laudatory speech, television journalist Max Moor emphasized Kennedy's desire for freedom, which made his self-confidence shine through his love of music. "His musical adventure never wants to end - it's just there, like true love."
Claudia Cardinale - The big "CC" in the cinema world
Six decades of a fulfilled acting life: Claudia Cardinale actually wanted to discover the world from Tunis, but by chance the “most beautiful Italian in Tunisia” was mistaken for an actress at a film festival and began an exceptional career lasting 60 years. For this exemplary life's work, the Cardinale was awarded the European Culture Prize, not without delighting the still countless fans on the red carpet with a real rain of autographs. In the Tonhalle hall, her laudator, Maria Furtwängler, let Cardinale's entire career pass by, which began with charming young heroines and was far from over even with major leading roles in Hollywood. But Claudia Cardinal was also a UNESCO ambassador for women's rights for many years and took every opportunity to campaign for equal rights for women. That also earned her colleague Furtwängler the utmost respect: "You encouraged us women to be strong."
Camilla Nylund - A Life for Opera
If there is a musician who has thoroughly researched her subject before stepping onto the stage, it is the Swedish-Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund. Her extraordinary career began after her musicology studies, but all the more steeply. The dramatic soprano quickly worked her way up to become an absolute Wagner and Strauss specialist and is now at home on the most important stages around the world. Matthias Schulz, currently still opera director in Berlin and soon to have the same function in Zurich, left no doubt about his admiration in his laudatory speech: Nylund is a "natural phenomenon", her voice has such a "warm sound and a height that is always round stays”, that she will always be remembered. Nylund himself thanked for the honor and said what many artists know: that "the audience's delirium is worth every effort" and that the "elixir of affection is our doping".
Sir Bryn Terfel - The voice miracle from Wales
Brit Award, Echo Klassik, Grammy and on top of that the title of Kammersänger - Sir Bryn Terfel was not ennobled for his artistic versatility and quality and was inducted into the Order of the British Empire for nothing. "A voice that makes us addicted as listeners" - can there be a nicer compliment for an artist? From the mouth of the Zurich Opera Director Andreas Homoki, who has truly heard many singers, it seemed particularly honorable, and Terfel not only appears in several productions worldwide, but of course also in the Swiss cultural metropolis get here", the knight thanked, "where I have sung and will sing so many roles". He took the opportunity to thank his parents and family, but also his native Wales, who made this career possible for him in the first place.
Hannes Jaenicke – culture prize for special social commitment
In addition to cultural workers, the European Cultural Forum has been awarding prizes for civil society commitment for several years. With Hannes Jaenicke, a successful actor was honored who is not only committed to environmental protection, but also to a variety of social projects. Laudator Barbara Meier, herself extremely committed as a fair fashion ambassador, praised Jaenicke for "bringing uncomfortable truths into our living rooms, from which we would like to oust them". The honoree, who has excellently combined art with commitment for years, thanked him with a meaningful quote from Dostoyevsky: "The only thing that can save the world is beauty."
The adventurous duo Yello – noises become music
They are still regarded as pioneers of electronic pop music: the Swiss musician duo Yello, made up of Dieter Meier and Boris Blank, has been delighting generations of fans since the 70s, and the number of fans keeps growing. But Meier in particular is much more than "just" a musician: he began his professional career as a performance artist and experimental filmmaker. However, the duo received their culture prize in the music category for their unprecedented career, which began in 1978 in their hometown of Zurich. In a humorous and probably a little self-deprecating spirit, the two famous musicians demonstrated their creativity right on stage by processing a few verbal set pieces with digital technology into a pounding beat and performing them themselves - the basis of their immense success, the even brought them to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The two were deeply moved that they were honored for it in the Tonhalle Zurich of all places: "After all, we started out as a punk band," Meier fibbed.
Exceptional cellist Sol Gabetta - The sun in the heart
The name alone sounds like music: Sol Gabetta. It deserves to be noted: It is the real name of the exceptional cellist from Argentina, who has lived in Switzerland for many years. And the translation couldn't be more accurate: the happy nature does the sun credit. When her cello playing was heard for the first time at the Basel Conservatory, laudator Stephan Schmidt recalled, it was an "artistic luminary who entered the stage". And so Gabetta, who is well aware of her external charms, says that it is her soul that touches people. "The music shoots out of her." It is probably her interpretative accuracy that makes her critics go into raptures. And what could be nicer than receiving an award in your adopted country? The cellist thanked: "Europe has become my home."
Niclas Castello – recreating art history
These were great words from the critic Dieter Buchhart: “Today an artist is being honored who literally destroyed art history in order to recreate it; he is a thought leader between our real world and our virtual world; he sees what is to come and has our present in mind.” The conceptual artist Niclas Castello, who comes from Thuringia and grew up in the Berlin street art scene, had just set another milestone in his artistic work. What his laudator was referring to is 50 kilos and ten million euros with an edge length of 186 centimeters – “The Castello CUBE” made the headlines. This cube of pure gold was set up in New York's Central Park on a beautiful February morning, traveled to Venice for the Art Biennale and then to the depot for fear of attacks. As early as 2016, Castello was able to celebrate groundbreaking success in the art world with his Cube Painting Sculpture. To this day, the work is regarded as an expression of a new art genre somewhere between sculpture and painting.
Sponsor HALLMANN HOLDING: Art and culture as a basis for understanding
Klemens Hallmann, main partner, presenter and member of the Board of Trustees of the European Cultural Forum, emphasized that bridge builders are needed, especially in times of crisis, who make understanding possible in the first place: "Art and culture are a mirror of the world and important for people and society. Together they enable a dialogue across borders and offer hope and prospects to humanity - all the more so in times of conflict, when it is important to unite Europe in a special way. As an investor and entrepreneur, I see it as my task to promote art and culture wherever possible, in order to provide an anchor point for society and a piece of freedom and peace.”