Wednesday 11 November 2020

As the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation spends 5.6 million euros on contemporary music in 2020, its ensemble prize goes to the Riot Ensemble and Synaesthesis

Riot Ensemble, winners of the one of Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation's new Ensemble Prizes
Riot Ensemble, winners of the one of
Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation's new Ensemble Prizes

The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation has announced that its ensemble prizes for 2020 will go to the UK-based Riot Ensemble and the Lithuania-based Synaesthesis. Each ensemble will get a cash award of 75,000 euros. The ensemble prize was established in 2020 and intended to support two ensembles in their artistic and structural development. The selection board included composers Wolfgang Rihm and Enno Poppe, artistic directors Ilona Schmiel and Andrea Zietzschmann and the violinist Carolin Widmann.

'The London-based Riot Ensemble convinced the jury not only through their outstanding musicianship, intuition for contemporary trends and well thought-out programmes, but also through their considerate and sustainable approach to solving ongoing structural and organisational challenges in society. The Lithuanian ensemble Synaesthesis inspired the board of trustees with their fresh versatility and creativity combined with the highest musical ability and precision. Both prize-winning ensembles already produce an unmistakable and indispensable resonance within the world of contemporary music.' 

In 2020, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation supported contemporary music to a total of 5.6 million euros, an amount increased by 2 million euros from the previous year as a direct result of the arts industry's COVID-19-related problems.

More than 180 contemporary music projects worldwide received funding in 2020. The 2020 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize and its endowment of €250,000 was awarded to the German violist Tabea Zimmermann, Composer Prizes went to Catherine Lamb (USA), Francesca Verunelli (Italy) and Samir Amarouch (France), all of whom have received €35,000. 

The extra funding for 2020 benefits music students facing financial difficulties in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and an extra application/submission period enabled the Foundation to provide help in a short-term and targeted way. The Foundation aimed to give special consideration to those projects which approach the current situation and its associated restrictions in an especially creative way, or to those who have been confronted with a difficult financial situation as a result of the pandemic.   

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