University of Michigan announces world-beating M-Prize

University of Michigan (UoM) has broken the bank and launched M-Prize, a new international competition with a whopping USD100,000 (€88,900) first place payout. The competition for ensembles of 3-8 players will take place annually each May beginning in 2016, and is the largest prize of its kind in the world.

Explaining UoM’s decision to launch M-Prize Aaron Dworkin, dean of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD), said: ‘The vast possibilities inherent in chamber music empower it with the unique ability to serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary exploration and, ultimately, transformational artistic experiences.’

In addition to the main event there is an open category for ensembles with mixed instrumentation that can include technology, voice and improvisations elements. The inaugural event will focus solely on chamber music, but will expand to include other disciplines in the future.

‘M-Prize will showcase how artists at the top of their field are forging their own careers, a necessity in the modern age of performing arts,’ said the dean. ‘At the same time, it will encourage young artists to explore the limitless possibilities of the genre.’

In addition to the cash prize the grand-prize winners will take part in the University Musical Society of Ann Arbor concert series the following season.

The first M-Award grand prize winner will be picked from three finalists at a concert on Hill Auditorium on May 20, 2016. Detroit Public Television plan to broadcast the event. Sponsorship comes UoM’s Office of the Provost.

M-Prize’s jury includes violinist Rachel Barton Pine, saxophonist Timothy McAllister and jazz drummer/composer John Hollenbeck, while its advisory board features cellist David Finckel, the Kronos Quartet and jazz pianist Geri Allen.

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