The Heidelberger Frühling Musikpreis 2023 was awarded to percussionist Martin Grubinger. At the end of the stage career of the Austrian star multi-percussionist, it honors his unparalleled services in bringing music to a broad audience, especially a young generation, and his associated social commitment.
The prize, which is sponsored by the founding partner of the Heidelberg Materials music festival, was awarded as part of the 2023 Musikfestival. In their laudatory speech, Thorsten Schmidt, artistic director of the Heidelberger Frühling, and Ilona Schmiel, artistic director of the Tonhalle Zürich, spoke on behalf of two institutions that have supported and accompanied Grubinger's career from the very beginning. Both emphasized his communicative talent to reach people through music and his courage to show social attitude as well. Something, as Grubinger pointed out in his acceptance speech, goes hand in hand with his understanding as an artist. The award ceremony was musically framed by the percussion trio Vivi Vasileva, student of Martin Grubinger at the Mozarteum Salzburg, Alex Georgiev and Jürgen Leitner, who also performed a work by Iannis Xenakis on stage, thus playing one of the contemporary composers Grubinger had made accessible to a broad audience.
Since 2013, the Heidelberger Frühling Musikpreis has honored personalities who have made a substantial and lasting contribution to the communication of classical music. The prize, which is unique in its form, is endowed with 10,000 euros and is sponsored by the Musikfestival's founding partner Heidelberg Materials.
Martin Grubinger (2023) for bringing music to a wide audience, especially a younger generation, and his associated social commitment.
Thomas Hampson (2021) for his decades-long commitment to art song.
John Gilhooly (2019) for his challenging and risk-taking programming and exemplary music education formats as director of London's Wigmore Hall.
Gabriela Montero (2018) for her great accomplishments as a music educator, social bridge builder, and master improviser.
Klaus Lauer (2017) for his courage and desire for the new and unknown as founder and artistic director of the Römerbad Musiktage and its successor, the Badenweiler Musiktage.
Christian Gerhaher (2016) for his passionate commitment to the romantic art song, with which he has set new standards.
Markus Hinterhäuser (2015) for his commitment as "art facilitator" as artistic director of the Vienna Festival and now the Salzburg Festival.
Eleonore Büning (2014) for her achievements as an advocate for music and as its mediator in her work as one of the most formative figures in German-language music journalism and as an author.
Jörg Widmann (2013) for his work as a clarinettist, composer and teacher, his continuous dialogue with the audience and his impulse to inspire people and open new horizons.