Leipzig International Mendelssohn Prize 2010Iris Berben and Lang Lang are the prize winners (PDF, 1,1 MB) of this year's Leipzig International Mendelssohn Prize.
In the "Music" category the Chinese pianist Lang Lang was honoured, who has not only supported projects to advance music education of children and young people, but has also played the music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy all over the world and brought it to a public of millions. Last year's Gewandhaus-Orchestra tour under Riccardo Chailly, with Lang Lang as soloist, had won especial notice and great enthusiasm, with interpretations from the pianist that were sensitive and original, and always true to the compositions. Despite his relative youth, he has shown an extraordinary musicality, that is particularly evident in his interpretations of European classical music.
His early shaping and continuous development has allowed him to grow into one of the most important ambassadors of Western music in his native China. With his understanding of the music and his ability to enthuse audiences, Lang Lang has made an important contribution to the dissemination of Mendelssohn's legacy.
The German actress Iris Berben was honoured for her especial "Social Engagement". Iris Berben has worked for those ideals which bring cultures and people openly together, not only as an actress but also through her great personal commitment. She has made a particular contribution to communication between Jewish and German cultures. She has worked decisively against political evils, racism, anti-Semitism and the extreme-right in the projects and contributions which she has initiated. The actress has already received many international awards for her services to understanding and reconciliation between Germany and Israel.
Iris Berben has demonstrated her open-minded approach not only politically, but also in humanitarian fields, for example on the Council of the German Aids Foundation, where she has worked with all her strength to help people. Through her example and attitude the German artist has become a model for all classes and age-groups in our society, always striving uncompromisingly to recognise and address their grievances. Thus the actress does justice in an extraordinary way to the ideals of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who in his well-known works, brought religions together.