Nineteen-year-old Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti clocked the most nominations, with Instrumentalist of the Year, Album of the Year and Young British Classical Performer. Mexican lyric tenor Rolando Villaz‹n and Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel were nominated for two awards each: Villaz‹n for Singer of the Year and the Critics' Award, Terfel for the Album of the Year and the Critics' Award. Vocal ensemble The Sixteen and its director, Harry Christophers, also won two nominations, for Classical Recording of the Year and Album of the Year.
Sting was another nominee in the Album of the Year category, shortlisted for his classical debut, Songs from the Labyrinth, an album of songs by the 16th-century composer John Dowland. (The disc, on which Sting is accompanied by the Bosnian lute virtuoso Edin Karamazov, was released by Deutsche Grammophon last autumn.) He faces competition from Terfel, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (playing Paul McCartney's oratorio Ecce Cor Meum), Benedetti and the boys' choir Libera.
Villaz‹n is joined in the Singer of the Year category by Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and British baritone Simon Keenlyside. The Instrumentalist of the Year category includes last year's winner, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, as well as Benedetti and British trumpeter Alison Balsom (who performed at the Classical BRIT Awards in 2006 and was named Young British Classical Performer.)
In the Classical Recording of the Year category, Christophers and The Sixteen (who were nominated for Ikon, a collection of sacred music) are joined by the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle (for their recording of Holst's The Planets) and the London Symphony Orchestra and Colin Davis (for Sibelius's Kullervo).
This year's Contemporary Composer of the Year category contains albums by John Adams, Karl Jenkins (who was once a jazz-rock musician) and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Competing for the Critics' Award are Bryn Terfel for his album Tutto Mozart, Rolando Villaz‹n for Opera Recital and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and conductor Ren_ Jacobs for Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.
A panel of reviewers from Gramophone magazine picks the nominees for Young British Classical Performer; Benedetti is joined on the shortlist by Scottish tenor Nicky Spence and violinist Ruth Palmer.
The Classical BRIT Awards were established in 2000. Classic FM listeners and Classic FM magazine readers choose the Album of the Year, for which voting begins on 10 April at www.classicfm.com. The winners of the eight categories will be announced on May 3 at the Royal Albert Hall.
SINGER OF THE YEAR
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
CLASSICAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Holst: The Planets
CONTEMPORARY COMPOSER OF THE YEAR:
EMI Classics & Sony Classical
SOUNDTRACK COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
NS&I ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Paul McCartney: Ecce Cor Meum
Mozart: La clemenza di Tito
Virgin Classics/ EMI
YOUNG BRITISH CLASSICAL PLAYER
and Sonata for Violin and Piano