Per Nørgård wins 2016 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize

Per Nørgård wins 2016 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
© Lars Skaaning
Danish composer Per Nørgård has been awarded this year’s prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, in recognition of his lifelong contribution to music. The prize will be presented to Nørgård, who is published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen, at the Prince Regent Theatre in Munich on May 2. Ensemble Recherche will perform his works Scintillation and Seadrift at the ceremony.

Nørgård’s musical output embraces all genres from chamber works to compositions for sinfonietta-sized groups and large ensembles. He has written eight symphonies, five operas and music for films. He has also played a major role as an educator and teacher for several generations of Danish composers.

The concept of the ‘Infinity Row’ is Nørgård’s major theoretical idea. It is a mathematical principle applied to the creative process his of his writing, which has been ever-present in his works, from the early 1960s through to the present day. Infinity in music sparked Nørgård’s interest in composition at a very young age. To this day it is still what he focuses on when listening, writing and talking about music.

The prize organisers praised Nørgård’s contemplative and intellectual approach to his composition:

"His work is characterised by an unremitting curiosity. His urge to try new ideas and to rethink those that already exist continually alters his way of writing, all without ever losing or betraying his inner voice."

Per Nørgård’s reaction upon receiving the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is one of deepfelt gratitude:

"Receiving the Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis is an honour. The appreciation for my work as a composer that is shown with this prize is truly heartwarming," says the composer.

Established in 1972, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is an annual accolade given by the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation for Music. The prize honours a composer, performer or musicologist who has made a distinguished contribution to the world of music. The winner of the prize receives €250,000. Previous winners include Olivier Messiaen, Hans Werner Henze, Henri Dutilleux, Elliot Carter, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, and Wolfgang Rihm. The first Ernst von Siemens Music Prize was given to Benjamin Britten in 1974. Along with the Music Prize there is also given several sponsorships to younger composers and musicians.

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