Disappointed you didn’t win the MacArthur or the Charles Ives Living this year? Fret not. Perhaps someone will nominate you for the just-established Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Musical Composition. The Northwestern University School of Music has just announced the creation of the biennial award that will carry with it a $100,000 cash prize intended to honor “classical music composers of outstanding achievement.”
The Nemmers Prize winner will also be recognized with a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a four-week residency at the Northwestern University School of Music.
The prize will be awarded to a classical music composer whose entire body of work, rather than a particular piece, “has significantly contributed to the direction of contemporary composition.”
Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Northwestern University School of Music, explained the motivation for establishing the prize. “These artists indelibly shape our musical landscape and it is only fitting that they are honored accordingly,” she said. “We look forward to working with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and strengthening the bonds between our institutions.”
Daniel Barenboim, Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, echoed Montgomery’s assessment, noting that “it will certainly afford the opportunity to highlight the important composers of our day. We are delighted to be partners in this venture.”
Composers, regardless of citizenship or institutional affiliation, must be nominated to be considered. A letter describing the nominee’s accomplishments and qualifications should be sent to the selection committee. Scores and tapes, however, should not be sent. A three-member selection committee, designated by the CSO and Northwestern’s School of Music, will review the nominations.
Northwestern University already administers two other Nemmers prizes: the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Mathematics and the Frederic E. Nemmers Prize in Economics, both awarded since 1994.