Mauricio Kagel Music Prize


The Mauricio Kagel Music Prize provided by Kunststiftung NRW recognizes artistic experiments where music, image and performance meet. Kunststiftung NRW created this prize – in keeping with its aims of promoting interdisciplinary work and projects of the highest artistic quality – as an award for internationally recognized artists working in the spirit of Mauricio Kagel in the fields of artistic experiment, interdisciplinary concepts and new strategies for the presentation and reception of contemporary art. The Prize is worth € 50,000 and is awarded every two years. Of the prize money, € 30,000 goes to the prizewinner and € 20,000 is to be used to develop an artistic project in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Mauricio Kagel was born in Buenos Aires on 24th December 1931and died on 18th September 2008 in Cologne. He was a universalist: composer and conductor, director, writer of films and radio plays, teacher, essayist and not least - in his “Wedding Diary” from 2008 – a cartoonist and graphic designer. He was also a passionate perfectionist, a critical comrade and an unconventional thinker – and a “man of letters” of remarkable erudition: an intellectual artist in the very best sense. Mauricio Kagel came from a Russian Jewish family which had emigrated to Argentina. He came to Germany in 1957 on a DAAD scholarship and settled in Cologne to work from here. His manifold activities radically did away with the prevailing notions of how art is created, and how it should be presented and received. Here he had a formative and enduring influence on the international music scene and, through his role as Professor of New Music Theatre at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, that of North Rhine-Westphalia which lasted over several decades. Today Mauricio Kagel serves as a representative example of successful intercultural dialogue.



The 2015 prizewinner – Rebecca Saunders
Following Georges Aperghis (2011) and Michel van der Aa (2013), this year the jury (consisting of Georges Delnon, Henk Heuvelmans, Louwrens Langevoort, Renate Liesmann-Baum and Elisabeth Schweeger) was unanimous in voting for Rebecca Saunders: "Saunders is a musical magician, as sensual as the colour red, which runs through many of her compositions, who seems able to redefine time and space with her music. And by doing this she disrupts our view of a complex world, but always in ways which are surprising and new.”


The prize was presented on 10th May 2015 as part of the festival “Eight Bridges | Music for Cologne”. The photo below shows Rebecca Saunders, the photos under “Impressions” the composer with the Ensemble Musikfabrik together with Marco Blauw (Ensemble Musikfabrik) who held the laudation.



Rebecca Saunders | Photo: Veit Landwehr


The 2013 prizewinner – Michel van der Aa

The prize was awarded – for the second time – to the composer Michel van der Aa (born 1970 in the Netherlands) on 28th April 2013 as part of the “Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik”. Michel van der Aa plans to realise his North Rhine-Westphalia project in Cologne in 2015.


The 2011 prizewinner – Georges Aperghis



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