The new award will be presented regularly to major artists and industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to Wigmore Hall; they will be chosen by the hall's director, in consultation with its board of trustees and industry insiders.
John Gilhooly, Wigmore's current director, said in a statement, "For over a century the Hall has grown and prospered, thanks to a great number of artists who have performed here and the audiences who have listened to them. Some of these artists, like Matthias Goerne, made their U.K. debuts here ... These artists have made their repertoire come alive within these walls, and have helped create extraordinary musical experiences for our audiences here and internationally."
A special medal has been commissioned by the hall, designed and created by British artist Irene Gunston. Goerne will receive his medal at a ceremony during his upcoming all-Schubert recital (with conductor Ingo Metzmacher at the piano) at the Wigmore Hall on February 22.
Goerne, a respected lieder singer, counts Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes, Alfred Brendel, Christoph Eschenbach and Elisabeth Leonskaja among his musical collaborators. In 2001 he was appointed an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. Born in Weimar, he studied with Hans-Joachim Beyer in Leipzig, and later with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.