Kravis Prize

The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic is awarded to a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music. One of the world’s largest new-music prizes, the Kravis Prize for New Music is awarded every two seasons, and includes $200,000 and a commission to write a work for the New York Philharmonic. In alternating seasons, when no prize is given, the Orchestra names the Kravis Emerging Composer, who receives a $50,000 stipend and a commission.

  • Louis Andriessen
    Louis Andriessen

    In October 2018 Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic give the World Premiere of Agamemnon, the new orchestral work that Louis Andriessen composed upon being named the recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic. 
    The honor, which Mr. Andriessen received at a Philharmonic concert on November 17, 2016, recognizes a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music. Made possible by a generous gift from Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, it is one of the world’s largest new-music prizes, consisting of $200,000 and a commission to compose a work for the New York Philharmonic. 

    Mr. Andriessen said: “It is an immense honor to receive The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, and I send my deep and solemn feelings of gratitude. Being preceded by such masters as Nørgård and Henri Dutilleux is in itself already a great inspiration. I admire them both and have known and adored Dutilleux since I was 18 years old. My father, the composer Hendrik Andriessen, used to say: ‘We are not important; the music is important, and we have the duty to write as well as we can.’ It is in this spirit that I will write for the New York Philharmonic.”

    Louis Andriessen has been a major influence on today’s composers, including Julia Wolfe, Derek Bermel, and Missy Mazzoli, all of whom have been involved in the Philharmonic’s new-music initiatives. The New York Philharmonic performed the New York Premiere of Louis Andriessen’s De Staat in May 1986, led by Gunther Schuller, as part of the Orchestra’s new-music series Horizons.

    Louis Andriessen — widely regarded as today’s leading Dutch composer and a central figure in the international new music scene — is the third recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic. From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic materials, heard in distinctive instrumentation. His inspirations range from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondrian in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. Mr. Andriessen’s compositions have attracted leading exponents of contemporary music, including the two Dutch groups named after his works De Volharding and Hoketus. Other eminent ensembles that have commissioned or performed his works include Asko|Schoenberg, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, London Sinfonietta, and the Bang on a Can All Stars. Cross-disciplinary works include the theatre piece De Materie, created with Robert Wilson for Netherlands Opera; three works created with Peter Greenaway (the film M is for Man, Music, Mozart, and the stage works ROSA Death of a Composer and Writing to Vermeer); and collaborations with filmmaker Hal Hartley, including The New Math(s) and La Commedia, an operatic setting of Dante. Recent commissions include Agamemnon for the New York Philharmonic (being premiered Fall 2018); Mysteriën, premiered by Amsterdan’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons; and The only one for Los Angeles Philharmonic (April 2019). His newest opera, Theatre of the World, about the 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher, received first performances in Los Angeles and Amsterdam in 2016, and was released on disc by Nonesuch in 2017. Louis Andriessen held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, was awarded Composer of the Year Award by Musical America in 2010, and won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for his opera La Commedia.

    Louis Andriessen: An Appreciation, by Robert Hurwitz

    Louis Andriessen: Complete Works

    Louis Andriessen Receives The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music

  • Per Nørgård
    Per Norgard

    On June 11, 2014, then Music Director Alan Gilbert took the stage to announce that Per Nørgård was the next recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic. The New York Philharmonic gave the U.S. Premiere of Mr. Nørgård’s Symphony No. 3 in 2016, during the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL. This followed a performance by Philharmonic musicians of Mr. Nørgård’s music on CONTACT!, the Philharmonic’s new-music series, in a program featuring contemporary Nordic composers, March 7, 2015, conducted by then Music Director Alan Gilbert at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Per Nørgård is considered by many to be the most prominent Danish composer after Carl Nielsen. At the age of 17 he began studying composition with Vagn Holmboe, and from 1952 through 1957 he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and with Nadia Boulanger. In the 1960s Per Nørgård developed the Infinity Series, a principle in which new intervals are created ad infinitum, which he used in his 1968 composition Voyage into the Golden Screen for chamber orchestra; his use of this system culminated in his Symphony No. 3 (1972). Mr. Nørgård's subsequent encounter with the work of Swiss artist and schizophrenic Adolf Wölfli is evident in his Symphony No. 4, Indian Rose Garden and Chinese Witch Sea (1981), and his opera The Divine Circus (1982). In his Viola Concerto Remembering Child (1986) — commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, which premiered it with Pinchas Zukerman, its dedicatee, as soloist — and Violin Concerto Helle Nacht (1988), Mr. Nørgård continued his exploration of the stratification of time in a tempo-scanning of the melodies where accentuation, meter, and beat reveal new melodies within melodies. His later works border on the surrealistic, notably his Piano Concerto Concerto in Due Tempi (1995), which was premiered in 1996 at the ceremony awarding Mr. Nørgård the Léonie Sonning Music Prize. His Symphony No. 8 was commissioned and premiered by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012. Per Nørgård has also composed scores for several films, including Babette’s Feast (1987). He collaborated with Ane Dorthe Roel on the 2006 book Nye aspekter i uendelighedsrækken (New Aspects of the Infinity Series) on her discoveries in the Infinity Series. Today, he is traveling with a select group of collaborators and composing for harp, percussion, violin, cello, and piano; his catalog now surpasses 400 works in total. Per Nørgård taught at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, from 1965 through 1995, becoming a professor in 1987. In 2009 he was portrayed in Martin Verdet’s music documentary Timeless Harvest. He was awarded the Carl Nielsen Prize in 1969 and 2002, and The Nordic Council Music Prize in 1974. From 1975 until 1982 he served as chairman of the Danish Composers’ Society. He is the winner of the 2016 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in recognition of his lifelong contribution to music.

    Alan Gilbert Bestowing the Prize on Per Nørgård, June 11, 2014

    Per Nørgård on His Music and Influences

  • Henri Dutilleux
    Henri Dutilleux and Alan Gilbert
    Henri Dutilleux and Alan Gilbert in December 2011

    On December 7, 2011, then Music Director Alan Gilbert named Henri Dutilleux the inaugural recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Dutilleux made the generous decision to share the proceeds of his prize with Anthony Cheung, Peter Eötvös, and Franck Krawczyk, each of whom would write a work to be performed by the Orchestra in his honor. Mr. Cheung’s resulting work, Lyra, was premiered in June 2014. Mr. Eötvös’s Senza sangue received its World Premiere in Cologne, Germany, on the Orchestra’s EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour, and its U.S. Premiere in New York City in May 2015. Mr. Krawczyk’s Après was premiered in April 2016.

    Henri Dutilleux (1916–2013) is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s important composers. His early musical ability was nurtured by his grandfather, the organist and composer Julien Koszul, who was director of the conservatory at nearby Roubaix and a classmate and friend of Gabriel Fauré. After studying piano, harmony, and counterpoint with Victor Gallois at the Douai Conservatoire Dutilleux attended the Paris Conservatoire, 1933–38, studying harmony and counterpoint with Jean and Noël Gallon, composition with Henri Paul Busser, and music history with Maurice Emmanuel. After serving briefly as a medical orderly during World War II, Dutilleux returned to Paris in 1940 where he earned a living as a pianist, arranger, and teacher before becoming choral director at the Paris Opéra in 1942. He held the post of director of music productions with the French radio company ORTF (1945–63) and taught composition at the École Normale de Musique de Paris (1961–70), after which he returned to the Paris Conservatoire for two years as a guest professor.

    Soon after completing his conservatory training, Henri Dutilleux began a decades-long search for his own authentic compositional voice, later renouncing all of the pieces that predate the Piano Sonata (1946–48), written for his then-new wife, the pianist Genevieve Joy. He achieved international recognition in 1951 with his Symphony No. 1, and soon begin receiving commissions from the likes of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Juilliard String Quartet, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Swiss conductor Paul Sacher. Many of these works — such as the string quartet Ainsi la nuit (1977), and the orchestral pieces The Shadows of Time (1997) and Métaboles (1964) — are regarded as masterworks of Western literature.

    In addition to the Kravis Prize for New Music, Dutilleux’s numerous honors and prizes included the Grand Prix de Rome (1938), French Grand Prix National de la Musique (1967), Praemium Imperiale (1994), Cannes Classical Award (1999), Grand Prix 1999 de la Presse Musicale Internationale, Ernst von Siemens Music Award (2005), and MIDEM Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). He was an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

    Henri Dutilleux: Complete Works

    Henri Dutilleux - Winner of the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, 2011

    Henri Dutilleux accepts the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music

  • Kravis Emerging Composer

    In alternating seasons, when no Kravis Prize is given, the Philharmonic names the Kravis Emerging Composer, who receives a $50,000 stipend and a commission. Two composers have received this honor: Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Sean Shepherd.

    Anna Thorvaldsdottir

    During the CONTACT! concert on June 5, 2015, the New York Philharmonic announced that Anna Thorvaldsdottir would be the second Kravis Emerging Composer, bestowed on an up-and-coming composer as part of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir received a $50,000 stipend, including a commission to compose a work for the Philharmonic to premiere in a future season, and the Orchestra will perform other music by her in upcoming seasons, starting with the New York Premiere of Aeriality, led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert, May 19–20 and 23, 2017.

    “Anna Thovaldsdottir has one of the most unique and expressive voices in the compositional scene today,” said then Music Director Alan Gilbert. “Her uncompromising approach to building soundscapes creates a visceral, pictorial aesthetic that is deeply connected to her Icelandic heritage. It is thrilling to be able to present her with this platform that will allow her music to be even better known in New York. This is the very purpose for which we created the position of the Kravis Emerging Composer.”

    “I am incredibly honored and grateful to be named the New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer,” said Anna Thorvaldsdottir. “Writing for orchestra constitutes such a fundamental part of my voice as a composer, and I am deeply looking forward to working on this commission for them. It is a wonderful privilege to take part in this way in the New York Philharmonic’s important contribution to new music.”

    Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music portrays a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir’s compositions are performed internationally, including at major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Composer Portraits Series at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center. Many of her works have been nominated for and received honors; most notably, she is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming. Some of the orchestras and ensembles that Ms. Thorvaldsdottir has worked with include International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), BIT20, Musiques Nouvelles, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Yarn/Wire, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble. Her well-received debut album, Rhízōma, was released in October 2011 through Innova Recordings and appeared on a number of “Best of 2011” lists, including in Time Out New York and Time Out Chicago. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir’s album Aerial was released by Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics in November 2014 and appeared on a number of year-end lists, including The New Yorker, Boston Globe, iTunes Classical, and WQXR’s Q2. She received a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. When not engaged in music-related activities, she may be found doing yoga or walking in nature, seeking inspiration for music and life. Anna Thorvaldsdottir is married to Hrafn Ásgeirsson, Ph.D. in philosophy, avant-garde saxophone player, and recreational photographer.

    Sean Shepherd

    Sean Shepherd was named the inaugural Kravis Emerging Composer in June 2012. His tenure led to the composition of Songs, which the Philharmonic premiered in June 2014, led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert, the work’s dedicatee. The New York Philharmonic first performed music by Mr. Shepherd in April 2010, when Gilbert led the World Premiere of These Particular Circumstances in the inaugural season of CONTACT!, the Philharmonic’s new-music series. Shepherd’s wideOPENwide was premiered at the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL in May–June 2016 as part of violinist Jennifer Koh’s Shared Madness program, co-presented by the Philharmonic. In addition, he has received one of The New York Commissions, through which the Philharmonic is honoring its 175th anniversary season. The New York Commissions feature World Premieres of New York–themed works by New York–based composers with strong ties to the Philharmonic. For more information, visit Sean Shepherd’s website.

  • Video
    Louis Andriessen Speaks with Jaap van Zweden about Receiving the Kravis Prize
  • About

    Funding for the Kravis Prize for New Music comes from a $10 million gift given to the New York Philharmonic in 2009 by Henry R. Kravis in honor of his wife, Marie-Josée, for whom the prize is named.

    Frequency: The Prize, consisting of $200,000 and a commission for the New York Philharmonic, is bestowed every two seasons. In alternating seasons, when no prize is given, the Orchestra names the Kravis Emerging Composer, who receives a $50,000 stipend and a commission. The combined award of $250,000 is among the largest new-music prizes in the world.

    Selection Process: Prize winners are selected by a committee comprising leading artists and administrators who have close ties to the Philharmonic, and a demonstrated interest in fostering new music. The committee currently includes Jaap van Zweden, who becomes Music Director in the 2018–19 season after serving as Music Director Designate in the 2017–18 season; Esa-Pekka Salonen, The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, 2015–18; Nicholas Kenyon, managing director, Barbican Centre, London; Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean of The Juilliard School; and Daniel Druckman, New York Philharmonic Associate Principal Percussion.

    Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis have long been generous supporters of new music at the New York Philharmonic. In 2009 they made a gift of $10 million to the Orchestra, endowing both The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic and the Composer-in-Residence position. This gift supported the commissioning of Franck Krawczyk's Aprés (April 2016); Peter Eötvös’s Senza sangue (May 2015); Christopher Rouse’s Thunderstuck (October 2014); Sean Shepherd’s Songs (June 2014); Anthony Cheung’s Lyra (June 2014); Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 4 (June 2014) and Prospero’s Rooms (April 2013); Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, written for Yefim Bronfman (May 2012), Al Largo (June 2010), Souvenir (in memorium Gérard Grisey) (November 2010), and EXPO (September 2009). Before extending this gift, Mr. and Mrs. Kravis supported the commissions of six new compositions: Peter Lieberson’s The World in Flower (May 2009); Marc Neikrug’s Quintessence (March 2008); Bernard Rands’s Chains Like the Sea (October 2008); Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto (February 2007); Augusta Read Thomas’s Gathering Paradise, Emily Dickinson Settings for Soprano and Orchestra (September 2004); and Stephen Hartke’s Symphony No. 3 (September 2003).