The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award goes to Peter Eötvös, “one of the most important musical voices of our time”
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Music and Opera category has gone in this thirteenth edition to the Hungarian composer and conductor Peter Eötvös, “undoubtedly one of the most important musical voices of our time” in the words of the citation. “His artistic significance, originality and contribution to the advancement of music since the second half of the 20th century can be recognized in his writing for voice, solo instrument and orchestra in operas such as Three Sisters, Love and Other Demons and Senza Sangue. His instrumental compositions have been played by the most important ensembles and orchestras around the world.” In the above video, committee chair, Joana Carneiro, Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, reads out the award citation.
For the committee, one of Peter Eötvös’ great talents has been to overlay this emotional dimension on an existing innovative tradition that had left its audience behind. As Víctor García de Gomar, committee secretary and Artistic Director of the Gran Teatro del Liceu, explains: “The way he understands music has to do with the intensity of the communication between a composer, through a performer, and the audience that is out there. This link had become broken in the codification of 20th-century music. With Eötvös it is not just a mental or intellectual exercise, but an attempt to engage the public; what he does, crucially, is bring emotion to the story without forgoing an innovative and disruptive language.”
The presentation ceremony of the 12th and 13th Frontier of Knowledge Awards will take place on September 21 in the Euskalduna Conference Centre, Bilbao, Spain. The evening before, the same center will be the venue for the gala concert in honor of laureates. This will be the second time that the Bizkaia capital has hosted the Frontiers Awards events, following the BBVA Foundation’s decision in 2019 to make Bilbao the permanent home of the ceremony and concert of its international award scheme as of its 11th edition, and the postponement of the 2020 events due to the public health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Bilbao will thus celebrate a double ceremony honoring the achievements of the 35 laureates in the 12th and 13th editions of the Frontiers Awards.
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize and reward contributions of singular impact in science, art and the humanities, privileging those that significantly expand the frontiers of the known world, open up new fields, or emerge from the interaction of various disciplinary areas.
The goal of the awards, established in 2008, is to celebrate and promote the value of knowledge as a public good without frontiers, the best instrument at our command to take on the great challenges and opportunities of our time. Their eight categories are congruent with the knowledge map of the 21st century, according a differential weight to areas of particular relevance and dynamism in recent decades such as the environment, information and communication technologies and biomedicine, alongside other areas like basic sciences, economics, social sciences, the humanities and the supremely creative realm of contemporary music and opera.
Photo: Bálint Hrotkó