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33rd Annual Erwin Piscator Award Ceremony

March 31

December 17 marks the birthday of the great theater impresario Erwin Piscator, the founder of the Political and Epic Theater. 126 years ago to this day he was born in a small village near Wetzlar / Germany. After World War I, Piscator quickly made headlines in 1920s Berlin with his groundbreaking political theater productions. He became one of the most innovative theater impresarios and producers. During the Nazi Regime he fled to the United States. In New York he founded the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research and taught an entire generation of first-class American artists, among them Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Judith Malina, Tony Randall, Elaine Stritch, and Tennessee Williams. In the 1960s, Piscator again wrote theater history with his documentary theater in West-Berlin where he served as the Artistic Director of the Freie Volksbühne (Free People’s Theater) from 1963 until his death in 1966.

Piscator was convinced that “art only achieves its purpose when it contributes to the improvement of man.” Since 1986, the Annual Erwin Piscator Award has been presented to artists, who – by means of their arts – are contributing to the improvement of mankind.

As the founder and president of the Erwin Piscator Award Society it is my great pleasure to announce the recipients of the Erwin Piscator Awards 2020.

The Polish-born lyric tenor Piotr Beczala  will be presented with the Erwin Piscator Award 2020 for his outstanding artistic achievements as one of the world’s leading tenors and his commitment to authentically portray each character he embodies on stage. Since the beginning of his professional career at the Landestheater Linz in the 1990s he has delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, in Europe and the U.S. and has brought his dedication to be and do his best to each new role he has added to his repertoire.

In 2014, Piotr Beczala was awarded at the ECHO Klassik Award as “Singer of the Year”, and in 2019 he was honored as Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera.

Piotr Beczala is a constant guest in the world’s leading opera houses. In addition to his operatic work, he has sung many of the great vocal works with the world’s most distinguished orchestras and maestri.

Kim Kowalke will receive the Honorary Erwin Piscator Award in memory of Maria Ley Piscator for his enormous artistic and scientific achievements as Professor of Musicology at Eastman School of Music, as Music Director of innumerable musical theater productions and most of all for his tireless commitment to keeping the legacy of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya alive as President of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music in New York. As one of the foremost Weill-scholars and musicologists of his generation, Kim Kowalke has won five ASCAP Deems Taylor Awars for excellence in writing about music. His correspondence of Weill and Lenya, published in both English and German, was named a “book of the year” by both the New York and Financial Times. He has authored three documentaries for the BBC, conceived numerous musical revues, devised new pieces deriving from Weill’s stage works, produced recordings and a PBS radio series, and conducted more than fifty productions of musicals and operettas.

The 33rd Annual Erwin Piscator Award Ceremony will take place during a festive luncheon on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at the Lotos Club New York.

If you are interested in attending this, please contact Elysium – between two continents

Gregorij H. von Leitis


March 31
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