In fall 2003, 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. Nominations are solicited worldwide and 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 and a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The recipient is expected to participate in two to three nonconsecutive weeks of residency at the Bienen School of Music interacting with students and faculty. All winners are listed below.
Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize Criteria
The Michael Ludwig Nemmers in Music Composition will be awarded to a classical music composer who shows the highest level achievement in a body of work and a unique creativity. Composers must be nominated, preferably by recognized authorities in the field of classical music, such as prominent artists, critics, scholars, or administrators, via a letter to the Selection Committee. Should the winner not have an orchestral composition, appropriate chamber groups from the Symphony will be utilized. The winner must be available for a two- to three-week residency at Northwestern University (the weeks may be non-consecutive) and able to interact with faculty and students. A cash allowance will be provided to the winner to cover expenses connected with the residency.
Nominations for the 2020 prize will be accepted through Friday, January 31, 2020. Late nominations will not be accepted.
Nominations may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail. Email submissions must be emailed from the nominator's professional affiliation. Those wishing to mail nominations may submit them to the following address:
Secretary to the Selection Committee
Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition
Office of the Dean, Bienen School of Music
Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts
70 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University administers five Nemmers prizes: the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Mathematics, the Frederic E. Nemmers Prize in Economics, the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, the Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science, and the Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences. The donors intended that each prize be recognized as a leading award in the designated field and honor individuals of outstanding achievement. The prizes in economics and mathematics have been awarded since 1994 and are now established signal honors in those fields. The Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition was established in 2003. The Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science was established in 2014 and the Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences in 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 Northwestern's Other Nemmers Prize