In Fall 2004, the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music established the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, a biennial award honoring classical music composers of outstanding achievement in a body of work and a unique creativity. Nominations are solicited worldwide. The winner is determined by a three-member selection committee, comprising individuals of widely recognized stature in the music community. The prize includes a cash award of $100,000, a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a residency of two to three non-consecutive weeks at the Bienen School of Music where the recipient interacts with faculty and students.
On June 2, 2004, John Adams was named the inaugural winner of the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. The subsequent winners have included Oliver Knussen (2006), Kaija Saariaho (2008), John Luther Adams (2010), Aaron Jay Kernis (2012), Esa-Pekka Salonen (2014), and Steve Reich (2016).
The Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition is made possible through a generous gift from the late Erwin E. Nemmers and Frederic E. Nemmers. Learn more about the Nemmers Prizes at Northwestern University.