Franz Welser-Möst is ‘ambassador of European culture in America’

The Cleveland music director is to be awarded  the 2017 Pro Arte Europapreis award tomorrow by the Herbert-Batliner-Europainstitut in Salzburg.

The citation reads: ‘Franz Welser-Möst is not only the ambassador of European culture in America, but has also set new standards with his particular interpretation of 20th century works.’

The biennial prize, worth 30,000 euros, was previously awarded in 2013 to Zubin Mehta and in 2015 to the outgoing Salzburg Festival director, Alexander Pereira.

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  • Considering how integrated American and European musical cultures are I don’t see exactly how – except to patronize Americans – one can consider one person an “Ambassador” of European Culture. Someone in Europe must know that the historically, American musical culture has been largely European and most of its practitioners have historically been European immigrants and refugees and their descendants – as I am and my teachers were. It’s actually kind of funny (in an embarrassing sort of way) that someone would think W-M served that kind of role in America.. Apparently whoever thought this one up doesn’t get out much.

    • I wasn’t familiar with this institute but had a look at their website. The title of their most recent publication is “Understanding Islam”.

  • I wasn’t familiar with they either so I followed the link and I think it’s now clear. With their preoccupation with the preservation of European culture and Christianity I suspect that their organization stems from a fear of losing the former and the hope to regain the latter and with this prize, they are looking to make a statement more than anything else. Ironically, I doubt that, in this Post-CD age, very many people outside of audiences in Cleveland even know who F W-M is, as compared, say, to George Szell, Eugene Ormandy, Fritz Reiner, or even Christoph von Dohnanyi in their heyday.

    To add what originally said – before I sign off for good on this topic – I can’t imagine they have any idea what students study in American conservatories, where, at least in my day, to perform a work by a non-European composer was highly unusual and something teachers indulged their students only if (1) they really liked you or (2) they didn’t care what you did. And this was at a conservatory (Juilliard) that was run, in the 60s and 70s at least, by a succession of American composers.

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