'Disc of the Year' at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2007 for Soile Isokoski's Sibelius CD (11.04.2007)

Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski's recording of orchestral songs by Jean Sibelius has been awarded ‘Disc of the Year' at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2007, in addition to winning the 'Vocal Award' (ODE 1080-5). The awards were presented to the soloist and to conductor Leif Segerstam - who on this disc leads the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in eighteen of Sibelius's orchestral songs and the tone poem Luonnotar - at the official awards ceremony on April 11th, 2007.

BBC Music Magazine is the world's best-selling classical music magazine, and the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2007 recognise the best classical music recordings of 2006. 1500 new releases were whittled down by BBC Music's expert jury to a list of 18 nominees (three per category). Soile Isokoski's Sibelius disc was competing in the ‘Vocal Award' category with tenor Ian Bostridge's recording of songs by Hugo Wolff on EMI Classics and mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink's and bass-baritone Marcos Fink's recording of Canciones Argentinas on Harmonia Mundi, and was voted for by the general public. The 'Disc of the Year' award was decided upon by the expert jury: "A thrilling performance of Luonnotar in which Isokoski's sonorous soprano is matched by atmospheric playing from the Finnish orchestra. The rest of the disc makes you wonder why Sibelius's orchestral songs occupy one of the most unjustly neglected corners of his output." (Erik Levi)

This disc has recently won the MIDEM Classical Award 2007 in the 'Vocal Recitals' category. Since its international release in Spring 2006, it has received a number of outstanding reviews throughout the international press and has been awarded several of the industry's highest accolades including 'Classical CD of the Year 2006' by The Daily Telegraph/UK and 'Disc of the Month' in May 2006 on both ClassicsToday.com and ClassicsTodayFrance.com. "Soile Isokoski has never made a more beautiful recording than this. She offers what must be accounted, hands down, as the finest performance of the tone poem Luonnotar currently available. (...) A marvelous release in every respect." (David Hurwitz, Editor of ClassicsToday.com)

Recognised as one of the finest singers of her voice type, Soile Isokoski is a regular guest at the most renowned venues of the world. Her recording of Four Last Songs and other orchestral songs by Richard Strauss with Marek Janowski and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra was hailed as a benchmark and received a Gramophone Award in 2002 (ODE 982-2).

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest professional symphony orchestra in the Nordic countries, is well known today for its tradition of performing Sibelius, and it also premièred many of his major works, often with the composer himself conducting. Since 1995, noted conductor Leif Segerstam has been the orchestra's 11th chief conductor.

For further information about the 2007 BBC Music Magazine Awards, please visit the website of BBC Music Magazine.

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