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About ECM
October 26 , 2004


ECM founder/producer Manfred Eicher has been named by the Cultural Commission of the City Council of Munich as the winner of the “Kultureller Ehrenpreis 2004”. The award will be presented at a special ceremony in Munich on January 24th 2005.

Excerpts from the jury’s citation:
“Record producer Manfred Eicher wrote an unequalled story of success with his label ECM Records (Edition of Contemporary Music) founded in Munich 1969, and, with his readiness to take on risks and his uncompromisingly independent repertoire policies, he advanced from outsider status to become one of the most important figures in contemporary jazz.
With recordings of Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Egberto Gismonti, Paul Bley, Pat Metheny, Dino Saluzzi, John Surman, Ralph Towner, Terje Rypdal, Bobo Stenson, the Art Ensemble of Chicago ECM established its reputation as one of the most important and path-breaking labels worldwide. Innumerable press reports over decades and international awards attest to the singular status of the label. Manfred Eicher helped make contemporary jazz accessible to a broad audience. His recording of Keith Jarrett’s “Köln Concert” remains one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time…
In 1984 Eicher took another daring step by establishing the ECM New Series with recordings of contemporary music. Composers such as Arvo Pärt, György Kurtág, Giya Kancheli, Alfred Schnittke entrusted premiere recordings of their most important works to Eicher’s production genius. Eicher has made long lasting productive cooperations with international reputed artists living in Munich, such as the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Rosamunde Quartet. The recording of “Funèbre” of the Munich Composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann with the Munich Chamber Orchestra won the Cannes Classical Award in 2003.
In the jazz sector as well as in the sector of contemporary music Manfred Eicher has revolutionised the aesthetics of recording …
He has also cooperated with a number of prominent film directors. Together with Heinz Bütler he made the movie “Holozän”, which won the “Special Jury Prize” at the Film Festival in Locarno. It is also important to point out the long lasting cooperation with Jean-Luc Godard, in films like “Nouvelle Vague” and “Histoire(s) du cinema”. With the graphical design of the CD covers, which is one of ECM’s trademarks, Eicher and his designers have also established the benchmark, and the quality of ECM artwork has been acknowledged with numerous design prizes.
Manfred Eicher has received over the past years a number of high ranking honours. In 1986 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the German Record Critics and in 1998 the “Music Prize of the Federal State Capital Of Munich”. In 1999 the King of Sweden named him “Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star” and from the Estonian president he received the decoration “Marienlandkreuz V. Klasse”. In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of contemporary music”. In 2002 - after three previous nominations (1997, 1999 und 2001) – he received a Grammy as “Classical Producer of the Year” from the American Recording Academy”.

Manfred Eicher