He will receive the prize — a silver sculpture created specially by German artist Fritz K‹nig — tonight at a recital he is performing as part of the 2006 Settimana Musicale Senese festival.
The Accademia's Premio Internazionale, founded in 1982 by Rolf Becker and awarded under the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic, is given each year to an outstanding musician. The list of previous recipients makes a formidable roster of instrumentalists: Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Viktoria Mullova, Gil Shaham, Maxim Vengerov, Hilary Hahn, Peter Serkin, Andršs Schiff, Evgeny Kissin, Leif Ove Andsnes, Tabea Zimmermann, Matt Haimowitz and Esa-Pekka Salonen (among others). Last year's laureate was violinist Sarah Chang.
A former BBC New Generation Artist, Lewis won in 2003 the South Bank Show Classical Music Award, the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year Award and a Diapason d'Or de l'Ann_e for his performances and recording of Schubert piano sonatas. He is currently in the midst of a major project performing the compete Beethoven piano sonatas in various venues in Europe, North America and Australia; the sonatas will also be recorded and released by Harmonia Mundi.