The internationally- recognized Early Music expert, Catalan Jordi Savall, rejected on Thursday Spain’s National Music Prize, which is awarded by the Spanish Government each year. Savall has not accepted the Prize, which was announced on Wednesday and comes with €30,000, because he wants to show his rejection of the Spanish Government’s cultural policies, particularly that towards musicians. Savall is probably the world’s top interpreter of viola da gamba and the main expert in Early and Renaissance music. In 2012 he received the Leonie Sonning Music Foundation Prize, considered to be the ‘Nobel Prize of Music’. Besides, Savall has been publicly advocating for Catalonia’s right to self-determination in the last few months.
In a letter addressed to the Spanish Culture Minister, José Ignacio Wert, Savall blames the Spanish Government for “the dramatic lack of interest and the great incompetence in defending and promoting arts and its creators”. Furthermore he “deplores the Spanish Government’s downplaying policy towards the vast majority of musicians”.
The Spanish Ministry of Culture stated it “respects” Savall’s decision. However, they emphasized that “the talent” of the interpreter and composer had been “recognised by an independent jury”.