The American Bruckner Society has awarded its prestigious “Recording of the Year”-Award 2023 to the Vienna-based French Conductor and Violinist Rémy Ballot for his live recording of Bruckner´s First Symphony (Vienna version, 1890-1891) at St. Florian Monastery, where Bruckner was educated, later worked as an organist, and where he is buried in a vault beneath the organ.
The Jury of the Award consists of internationally leading Bruckner experts, who are contributors to the new Bruckner Edition of the Musikwissenschaftliche Verlag in Vienna. Previous laureates include Jakub Hruša, Christian Thielemann, Manfred Honeck and Herbert Blomstedt, and the complete Bruckner Box by Deutsche Grammophon – DG has of course multiple conductors. The list of historic recordings features Bernard Haitink, Eugen Jochum, and Hans Rosbaud.
This recording is the penultimate release in a decade-long series of performances led by Rémy Ballot during the annual Bruckner Tage festival in St. Florian. A box containing the live recordings of Symphonies 1-9 and a first recording of David Chapman’s new critical edition of the “Annulled” d-minor symphony was released on 17th November. It is the first cycle ever recorded at this authentic Bruckner venue, which also deserves attention for its problematic acoustics with a reverberation of up to nine seconds. Thus, tempi and harmonic changes need to be chosen very carefully so as to avoid a “harmonic mash” and keep the orchestration transparent.
In the jubilee season of the St. Florianer Brucknertage in August 2024, Rémy Ballot is going to conduct Bruckner´s 9th Symphony preceded by an introduction by Felix Diergarten, the renowned Bruckner expert, and author of recently published, and promptly critically acclaimed, Bruckner biography.
Rémy Ballot studied violin in Gerard Poulet’s legendary violin class at the Paris Conservatoire, before being accepted by Sergiu Celibidache as a student at the age of 16, following a string quartet masterclass. Moving to Vienna in the early 2000s and having played freelance for several years in the first violin section of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra he has also become a sought-after chamber musician. Rémy Ballot is currently Chief Conductor of the Klangkollektiv Wien, a chamber orchestra founded in 2018 on the initiative of several members of the Vienna Phiharmonic Orchestra specialising in critically acclaimed performances of the repertoire of the First Viennese School and its contemporaries.
Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s death, Rémy Ballot will be announced as “Conductor in Residence” of the Richard Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen from 2024 onwards.