Ernst von Siemens Music Prize Announces 2023 Recipient
Sir George Benjamin joins the likes of Olivier Messiaen, Benjamin Britten, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein as the award's recipients
Awarded every year since 1973 by the Swiss-based Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize has named English composer Sir George Benjamin as the 2023 winner.
The award ceremony will take place on May 26 in the Hercules Hall of the Munich Residence — where Ensemble Modern will perform Benjamin’s work At First Light as well as the chamber opera Into the little Hill under the baton of the composer.
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation described Sir George as "one of the most important and influential contemporary artists of recent decades who has shaped New Music both as a composer and conductor. [He is] a composer who has always remained true to himself without bending to fashions and trends.
“Benjamin has almost uniquely succeeded in renewing music with traditional means, and his works bring contemporary music closer to a broad audience, thus making him a central figure in current musical life,” they continued.
Born in 1960, Benjamin began composing at the age of seven. Recent seasons have seen major performances of Benjamin’s work at the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Composer Festival at Konzerthaus Stockholm, and Radio France’s Festival Présences.
Since 2001, Benjamin has served as the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King‘s College London. Among his many fellowships and international awards, he was knighted in the 2017 Birthday Honours.
Benjamin wrote his first orchestral work, Ringed by the Flat Horizon, at the age of twenty and saw it performed at the BBC Proms in 1980. The 2012 opera, Written on Skin, has been performed over 100 times worldwide and won awards such as the International Opera Award.
As a conductor, he regularly collaborates with orchestras such as Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. As a former Artist in Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, he has conducted numerous world premieres — including works by György Ligeti, Gérard Grisey, Wolfgang Rihm, and Unsuk Chin.