Biennial award for composers to grant $100,000, residency

Sheila Burt

The School of Music has established a $100,000 award honoring outstanding classical composers that will bring winners to campus to interact with students and faculty.

The winner of the biennial Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Musical composition, one of the world’s largest awards for composers, will also be given a four-week residency at the School of Music and a performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the cash prize.

Nominations for the award, which will be accepted until March 1, will be reviewed by a three-member selection committee consisting of two officials appointed by the school and one appointed from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The winner will be announced in April.

Ellen Schantz, director of communication and marketing at the School of Music, said the award gives the school “international visibility,” because it honors top composers in the world.

The details of the winner’s four weeks of interaction with students and faculty at NU has not yet been decided, Schantz said.

The prize marks a significant collaboration with the Chicago Sympnony Orchestra, something which School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery said in an Oct. 27 press release she hoped would “strengthen the bonds” between NU and the orchestra.

The Nemmers Prize in musical composition follows similar prizes given in economics and mathematics that were established by the late Erwin Nemmers and Frederic Nemmers in 1994.

John Margolis, associate provost for faculty affairs, said the funds given by the Nemmers were created so any unspent income in the university’s endowment fund could be used to create awards in additional fields.

“We’ve been very pleased in our 10 years with the economic and mathematic prizes,” Margolis said. “These prizes have become among the most prestigious awards in those fields.”