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Staff Report

NEW YORK, 17 NOVEMBER 2005 —Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, 75, has been named a recipient of the Kyoto Prize in honor of his contributions in the field of Music.

The Inamori Foundation of Japan presents the annual awards in recognition of lifetime achievement in the categories of basic science, advanced technology and arts and philosophy. The award includes a cash prize of 50 million yen, or approximately $460,000.

In announcing the award the foundation said of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, "A musician of outstanding creativity who has contributed to the establishment of the historically informed performance of European early music, and who has extended his principles and interpretation to modern music as well."

In 1953, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, with his wife, Alice, organized the Concentus Musicus Wien (CMW). After four years of preparation, the group started to perform early music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, eventually expanding their repertoire to include music from the Classic and Romantic periods. In 1971, Mr. Harnoncourt began recording all of Bach's cantatas with Mr. Gustav Leonhardt. These recordings were widely accepted as an epic and definitive work in the history of the "early music performance movement" that began in the early 1960s. In the mid-1970s, Mr. Harnoncourt joined forces with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle to stage a series of Monteverdi operas at the Zurich Opera House in a cycle that contributed to a renaissance of Monteverdi's music. He conducted the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

The Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corp. The Kyoto Prize was founded in 1985 and has been awarded to scientists, engineers, researchers and artists from 12 nations.

Related: An Interview With Nikolaus Harnoncourt

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