© Andrej Grilc

Belmont Prize 2022
for Contemporary Music

Nominated Prizewinner

Sarah Aristidou
Soprano from Berlin


Munich 28 June 2022. For the first time in its history, the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music, with its € 20,000 endowment, is being awarded to a vocalist: the French-Cypriot soprano Sarah Aristidou. Every note she sings, to quote the foundation's board of trustees, is meticulously thought out and manifests razor-sharp intelligence, expression and sensuality. The awards ceremony will take place in the Gartensaal of the Prinzregententheater in Munich on 10 November 2022, at 6:30 pm.

Just a few days ago, on 26 June, Sarah Aristidou thrilled audiences at the Oper Frankfurt, singing Nausicaa in the première of Luigi Dallapicolla's Ulisse. Her great potential quickly became evident at the International Studio of the Staatsoper 'Unter den Linden' (2017-19), where she impressively sang the classical repertoire, particularly Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. As early as 2015, while still a student, she appeared in several world premières of works by composers such as Wolfgang Rihm and Manfred Trojahn. Aribert Reimann composed his Cinq fragments lyriques especially for her, and in 2018 she stood out at the Bregenzer Festspiele in the world première of Thomas Larcher's Das Jagdgewehr (a live recording was released on DVD in 2020). She has twice been nominated 'Best Newcomer' by the trade journal Opernwelt.

Sarah Aristidou likes to push things to the limits, as Jörg Widmann put it at the world première of his Labyrinth IV (2019), where she amply demonstrated her formidable vocal range and impressive skills to composer and audience alike. To quote Widmann: 'I don't believe the piece would have been possible without her and her spectacular command of the stratospheric altissimo register'.

Sarah Aristidou's artistic freedom is highlighted on her first album Æther, released in 2021. The album alludes to the 'fifth element' that seeks to cross boundaries between epochs, and it features works from Handel to Varèse, from Debussy to Adès, accompanied by such stellar musicians as Daniel Barenboim and Emmanuel Pahud. Outside the classical scene, in late 2021 she recorded Cypriot folksongs with the German-Turkish composer and sound-sculptor Kaan Bulak; together they produced a remix with Ricardo Villalobos and Ale Hop.

Born in Paris in 1991, Sarah Aristidou began her musical training in Maîtrise, the children's chorus of Radio France in Paris. She took a degree in musicology at the Sorbonne and another in music theory at the Conservatoire de Paris, after which she studied opera singing at Berlin UdK. In 2016 she received a master's degree from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and the Theaterakademie August Everding, where she studied with Christiane Iven.

Sarah Aristidou likes to push things to the limits and explore new terrain while taking good care of her voice. After all, she explains, 'there's no problem at all as long I do it with the right intention and proper technique'.