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The Guardian DECEMBER 1, 2014 - by Sean Michaels
BRIAN ENO WINS GIGA-HERTZ AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO ELECTRONIC MUSIC
Producer and musician takes home €10,000 for his lifetime of 'musical transgression' at prestigious ceremony.
Brian Eno has won what is arguably the world's biggest electronic music prize, receiving €10,000 (£8,000) for his lifetime of "musical transgressions and... innovative thinking in the field of internet and sound installation". The Giga-Hertz Award for Electronic Music, presented by the German broadcaster SWR and the ZKM Institute for Music and Acoustics, has previously been awarded to electronic music composers like Pierre Boulez, Pauline Oliveros and Jonathan Harvey.
Eno accepted the award as part of a gala at Karlsruhe's Imatronic Festival on Saturday. ZKM director Peter Weibel called the sixty-six-year-old a "mastermind of the recording studio", according to Deutsche Welle, hailing his ability to tailor "musical clothes" for other artists.
In his speech, Eno thanked the Baden-Württemberg state government. By endowing prizes like the Giga-Hertz award, he reportedly said, officials are staving off the free-market austerity that afflicts the United Kingdom's arts scene. "In Germany, I feel good," he said in an interview with the Mittelbayerische. "The breakfast here is delicious."
Eno also described the central role that singing occupies in his life. "Singing is among the best things in life," he explained. "In England, I've been singing in an a-cappella group for sixteen years. We don't do any concerts or take pictures - it's about the fun of it." He also expressed enthusiasm for his new music installation at Barcelona's Fundació Tàpies. "I'm working on a song that you can enter... [With] forty different speakers that [create] a walk-song-space." Eno has previously stated that this new piece, titled The Ship, is an attempt to unite the "three different threads of [his] career: the creation of pop music, with songs; creating ambient music, without lyrics; and installations".
While Eno was the recipient of the 2014 Giga-Hertz grand prize, €5,000 (£3,979) production awards were also presented to the Spanish composer Lula Romero, the Brazilian composer Giuliano Obici, and the Danish sound artists Camilla Sorensen and Greta Christensen, aka Vinyl Terror & Horror.