Military Wives and John Williams triumph at Classic BRITs

John Williams won two awards.

Last night, Myleene Klass hosted the 2012 Classic BRIT awards at the Royal Albert Hall. The evening’s big winners were the venerable neo-classical film composer John Williams, popular Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti and Gareth Malone and the Military Wives – capping off an incredible year for the chart topping choir made up of wives and partners of active servicemen in the UK armed forces.

One of the highlights of the proceedings was a rousing tribute to John Williams from James Morgan and the London Chamber Orchestra, honouring the man behind the music of Jaws, Star Wars and Schindler’s List and who scored two awards: the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Composer Award.

The Military Wives in action with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow.

The ceremony also featured live musical performances from André Rieu, Gary Barlow, Gareth Malone and the Military Wives, Miloš Karadaglić, Russell Watson, Amore, Nicola Benedetti, Andrea Bocelli and the cast of The Phantom Of The Opera, and will be broadcast on ITV 1 on Sunday evening, October 7.

Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir won the single of the year award the hit Christmas record Wherever You Are, composed by Novello & Co composer Paul Mealor.

A love poem compiled from the letters written to partners away on active duty in Afghanistan, the emotionally charged choral song beat Nessun Dorma and other classic tracks to win last night’s gong which was voted for by the public and sponsored by iTunes.

Gareth Malone described the award as “the candle on the icing of a very large cake”, before the choir celebrated their win with a performance of the Diamond Jubilee anthem, Sing accompanied by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the song’s composers live on stage.

Check out Gareth Malone and two of the members of the Military Wives Choir talking to Classic FM after their award below:

Former BBC young musician of the year, Nicola Benedetti won the best female artist award while pianist Benjamin Grosvenor became the Classic BRITs’ youngest ever male winner at 20 years of age, taking home the critics’ choice prize for his album Chopin, Liszt and Ravel. The Russian conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko, was named best male artist.

Nicola Benedetti lauded the work and influence of music teachers on successful artists such as herself:

Oscar winning actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins, was an expected Classic BRIT recipient too. The Welsh star contributed what would become the title track to André Rieu’s album of the year, And The Waltz Goes On.

You can view the full list of winners below.

Nicola Benedetti won the award for Female Artist of the Year.

Female Artist Award
Nicola Benedetti – Italia (Decca)

Male Artist Award
Vasily Petrenko – Shostakovich/Symphony No. 1 & 3, Shostakovich/Symphony No. 6 & 12, Shostakovich/Symphony No. 2 & 15, Naxos, Rachmaninov/Piano Concertos 1 & 4, Avie, Rachmaninov/Symphony No. 3 (EMI Classics)

Breakthrough Artist Of The Year Award
Miloš Karadaglić – Latino (Deutsche Grammophon)

Composer Award
John Williams – War Horse/The Adventures Of TinTin (Sony Classical)

Paul Mealor, the composer of the Military Wives Choir hit ‘Wherever You Are’ arrives at the awards.

Single Of The Year
Military Wives/Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are (Decca)

Critics’ Award
Benjamin Grosvenor – Chopin/Liszt/Ravel (Decca)

Album Of The Year
André Rieu – And The Waltz Goes On (Decca)

International Artist Of The Year
Andrea Bocelli

Lifetime Achievement
John Williams

Who in the classical world have you been listening to most this year? What have been your favourite releases and performances?

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