Medal of Honour of the City of Karlsruhe for Sontraud Speidel and Wolfgang Rihm

16. May 2024

‘With the Medal of Honour of the City of Karlsruhe, the City Council honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services in their field of expertise, but above all to the city of Karlsruhe.’
In March 2024, the municipal council decided to award this honour to two personalities who have been teaching at the Karlsruhe University of Music for decades.

Lord Mayor Dr Frank Mentrup had already congratulated Prof. Sontraud Speidel on her 80th birthday at a celebration in the Musentempel and announced this rare honour from the city. The medal of honour was presented on 13 May in the main conference room of the town hall. Dr Frank Mentrup paid tribute to Sontraud Speidel's ‘outstanding achievements as an internationally acclaimed pianist who is highly esteemed in professional circles’. She dedicated herself with ‘heart and passion to the training and promotion of young pianists in particular.’

Like Sontraud Speidel, Prof Dr h. c. Wolfgang Rihm was born and grew up in Karlsruhe. He is ‘probably the most important German composer alive today’, emphasised the Lord Mayor. He has ‘had a remarkable international career, but has always remained anchored in Karlsruhe’, said Frank Mentrup, who presented the medal of honour to Wolfgang Rihm in the presence of his family at his home and in a small circle, taking his health into consideration. ‘I have always seen Karlsruhe as a protector and guardian of my work,’ said the honouree.