The 2013 ECF Princess Margriet Award went to conductor Yoel Gamzou and Romanian visual artists Dan and Lia Perjovschi during a ceremony held in Brussels on 19 March 2013.

Watch the video. Photo ©Sebastian Krüger

Watch the video. Photo ©Sebastian Krüger

Any culture is only of relevance and substance when it constantly evolves.
— Yoel Gamzou

Living in Germany, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the International Mahler Orchestra and 1st Kapellmeister and Vice Music Director of the Staatstheater Kassel, Yoel Gamzou was selected for his exceptional talent and energy in inspiring different generations of musicians and diverse audiences across Europe.

The Award recognises his insightful conducting and his skill as a communicator in finding a new means of interpreting and engaging with classical music as a contemporary form of cultural expression. Gamzou’s artistic direction of the International Mahler Orchestra is just one of many examples of how he is re-thinking classical music, giving it new vitality relevant to contemporary times. Gamzou challenges the conventional structures of the classical music genre and in so doing uncovers its democratic potential.

Yoel Gamzou was chosen for his exceptional talent and energy in inspiring different generations of musicians and diverse audiences.

The annual award sends a clear signal that the interplay of cultures is vital to our future – the future of Europe and, indeed, of humanity.
— Katherine Watson
Watch the video. Photo ©Angel Sanchez/El Pais

Watch the video. Photo ©Angel Sanchez/El Pais

An an artist you increase your freedom by knowing things and by sharing this knowledge.
— Lia and Dan Perjovschi

Visual artist couple Lia & Dan Perjovschi from Romania were selected by the ECF Princess Margriet Award Jury for the active role that their art has played in Romanian culture and community building since the late 1980s, as well as its wider European relevance and global impact. While Lia Perjovschi has gained prominence for her time-based performance works and setting up the Contemporary Art Archive/Center for Art Analysis CAA (now housed in their studio in Sibiu), Dan Perjovschi translates social, cultural and political life into temporary drawings, a powerful and poetic form of graffiti drawn onto the walls of contemporary art spaces all over the world.

Alongside their international reputation, the Perjovschis have always remained grounded in Romania, working collaboratively to deepen the public’s historical and cultural awareness of art’s role in society.  With boundless generosity, the Perjovschis have used their studio as a public space, turning it into an accessible, bottom-up environment for cultural action and education, involving different generations to share knowledge and to envisage new spaces of imagination and possibility against dominant and undemocratic ideologies.

Lia & Dan Perjovschi were honoured for the active role that their art has played in Romanian culture and community building since the late 1980s, as well as its wider European relevance and global impact.

Internationally recognised for their artistic originality, ferocious authenticity, dignity, integrity, and the commitment of their lives to art and society, the Perjovschis have become ideal ambassadors of European culture, as well as citizens of the world, who have changed the ways we understand the very purpose of art in society.
— Kristine Stiles

Selection process

The 2013 ECF Princess Margriet Award laureates were selected from a list of 40 nominations. Each year ECF invites a changing network of experts across wider Europe to make nominations following the award guidelines. The jury reviewed dozens of submissions and made their final selection in Amsterdam on 23-24 August 2012.

2013 Award Jury


The 2013 award ceremony was hosted by ECF’s Director Katherine Watson while HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands – who was ECF’s committed patron for 24 years – presented the award at the Egg in Brussels.

The laureates received prize money of €50,000 between them, as well as unique awards crafted by sound artist Nathalie Bruys, who took the day, time and place of birth for each laureate and used a special software programme to create a unique sound frequency that was translated into a tuning fork and a specially engraved resonance box.

HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium attended the ceremony alongside HRH Princess Margriet and HRH Princess Laurentien and other notable guests.

The award ceremony included a film portrait by the Perjovschis made specially for the occasion, as well as a film following Yoel Gamzou at a music workshop in Hamburg, and a musical performance of Bach’s Chaconne by Afonso Fesch.

The jury and invited speakers praised the laureates for their vision and their contribution to European culture. The jury statement was read by jury member Els vand der Plas.

Duke University Professor of Art Kristine Stiles, who has worked with the Perjovschis for the past 20 years, introduced the couple in her laudation: Rob Riemen, Dutch cultural philosopher and Director of the Nexus Institute, praised Yoel Gamzou in a speech read by Jury member Christian Esch.

Other Awards

Athens Biennale | Visual Culture Research Center

Teodor Celakoski | Teatro Valle Occupato  

Charles Esche | John Akomfrah

Kutluğ Ataman | Šejla Kamerić

Borka Pavićević | Stefan Kaegi

Stuart Hall | Jerôme Bel & Pichet Klunchun

The ECF Library hosts a growing archive specifically dedicated to the ECF Princess Margriet Awards, including yearly publications, interviews with past laureates, speeches, videos, audio recordings, guidelines for the award, press releases  and media coverage. Take a look at the ECF Princess Margriet Award yearly publications, with details about the life and work of the laureates, as well as transcripts of speeches and photographs from the award ceremony.

Invited members of the audience were treated to an insight into the Perjovschis’ work at a “conversation with the artists”, moderated by Ann Demeester, Director of the de Appel Cultural Centre and introduced by Wolfgang Petritsch, Chair of ECF. Listen to the talk, watch the video or read a short review on the talk.

Wietske Maas, Curator ECF Princess Margriet Award