Plug is pulled on M-Prize

The M-Prize – heralded as the largest music prize in the US when it launched two years ago – has been cancelled. With a grand prize of USD100,000 (€87,500), the University of Michigan School of Music said it is “financially unsustainable”.

The prize was created by former Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) dean Aaron Dworkin. However, once Dworkin left in April 2017 it lost support from within the school.

“M-Prize was an exciting and important enterprise that helped raise the profile of the chamber arts in such a vital way,” said new SMTD dean Dave Gier. “Unfortunately, it is not possible to maintain the financial structure needed to continue M-Prize while also supporting SMTD’s own growth in chamber music and its many other disciplines.”

Aside from its flashy prize pot, it was also notable for having an ‘open’ category that allowed ensembles of any instrumentation or style to enter. Winners further benefitted from residency, management and recording opportunities.

In the end, M-Prize managed just three editions. Its winners were Calidore String Quartet (2016), Russian Renaissance (2017) and the Aizuri Quartet (2018).