Fifth ECF Princess Margriet Award Jury statement

19 March 2013

(Read by Jury member Els van der Plas)

Your Royal Highnesses, excellencies, distinguished guests, and, on behalf of the Award jury, dear laureates:
This evening we honour three exceptional individuals whose work reveals to us the role of culture in shaping Europe’s future.

Dan and Lia Perjovschi are artists who have dedicated their lives to forming a truly open space for dialogue between different cultures in Romania and Europe. They are community builders, tackling social issues through art and with an engaged attitude. How do they do this? By turning their own studio —in Bucharest and now Sibiu —into a platform for cultural reflection, in which artists, students, philosophers, politicians, journalists and others dare to ask difficult questions, and to speak truth to power. Their Centre for Art Analysis was born out of a desire to share and teach as a survival strategy. It is a place where people are invited to participate and to become aware of their lived environments. Built with little money, yet with untold generosity of time, trust and transparency, the centre is an exemplary space of art, knowledge and resistance.

Yoel Gamzou is a dynamic and courageous young conductor whose interpretations of classical music provide startling insights into musical and social experiences. Yoel opens new pathways to the so-called ‘old’ music of European heritage, exposing us to the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences in music that speaks of, and is full of, life. He takes a democratic approach both to the making and the reception of music. With untiring energy, Yoel and the orchestras he works with help us to regain the ability to listen, to counter the prevailing deafness of what Yoel calls ‘a society so full of output but incapable of input’. Yoel is, as music is, constantly evolving, but what remains true over time is his defiance of conventional ideas about how music ‘ought to be played’. For musicians and audiences across Europe, he shows that classical music needn’t be an art form stuck in time, but one that is fully expressive of our lives and selves in the here and now.

Like the previous recipients of this award, these three laureates have set out to instruct us, to teach us and to intrigue us. We learn, through them, a poetic and unorthodox knowledge which positively transforms our imaginations and the societies in which we live.