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About the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

The foundation was established in 1972 by Ernst von Siemens, grandson of the company founder Werner von Siemens. It began its work at the beginning of 1973 and in the same year the first Ernst von Siemens Music Prize was awarded – to Benjamin Britten. Since then, the foundation has awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize every year to a composer, performer or musicologist who has made outstanding contributions to international musical life. Previous winners include Olivier Messiaen, Mstislav Rostropovich, Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, György Ligeti, Claudio Abbado, Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Wolfgang Rihm, Mariss Jansons, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Rebecca Saunders and Tabea Zimmermann.


The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2023, endowed with 250,000 euros, is awarded to the British composer Sir George Benjamin. The Composers Prizes of 35,000 euros each go to Sara Glojnaric from Croatia, the British composer Alex Paxton and the American composer Eric Wubbels. The award ceremony for Sir George Benjamin will take place on 26 May 2023 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz. The Ensemble Modern will perform under the direction of the prizewinner. The laudatory speech will be given by British philosopher and long-time companion of George Benjamin, John Hyman.

The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation also awards two Ensemble Prizes. With 75,000 euros each, two young ensembles are supported as individually and sustainably as possible in their artistic and structural development. For the Ensemble Prize 2023, the Board of Trustees chose the Ensemble Ekmeles from New York and the NAMES Ensemble from Salzburg. The ensembles stood out from the many applications submitted due to their technical precision, their innovative programmes and, last but not least, their openness towards young composers and their work. 

The deadline for applications for the Ensemble Prizes 2024 is March 15, 2023.

Apply now!

Young, professional ensembles in the consolidation phase can apply. Two thirds of the ensemble members should be younger than 35. The ensemble should be dedicated exclusively to contemporary repertoire.

To the prizes


In 2017, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation initiated the PROGETTO POSITANO scholarship for young composers in collaboration with the Berlin-based ensemble mosaik. Each year, the programme enables two scholarship holders to spend four weeks working at the Casa Orfeo of the Wilhelm Kempff Cultural Foundation on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Following their stay, the works of the composers are presented by ensemble mosaik in a concert portrait in Berlin. 

Another initiative of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation are the räsonanz donor concerts. Together with the Lucerne Festival and musica viva of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Foundation makes possible annual concerts with top international orchestras and renowned soloists performing works by contemporary composers in Munich and Lucerne. The concerts take place on August 30, 2022 at the KKL Lucerne and on September 29, 2022 in the Prinzregententheater in Munich.

To the initiatives

Funding Projects

The largest share of the annual funding, more than three million euros, goes to around 130 contemporary music projects worldwide. The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation supports commissions for compositions ranging from small ensembles to choral and orchestral works from Great Britain to Slovakia, from Canada to Chile. Concerts and festivals from Reykjavik to Prague, Milan and New York also receive funding. Numerous academies for young composers and performers are also supported, for example at the Collège Contemporain in Paris.

To the funding projects

Board of Trustees and Foundation Board

The Foundation's Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting the prizewinners and the projects to be supported. Its members are Thomas von Angyan as chairman, Ilona Schmiel as vice chairwoman, Nikolaus Brass, Winrich Hopp, Ulrich Mosch, Isabel Mundry, Enno Poppe, Wolfgang Rihm, Carolin Widmann and Andrea Zietzschmann.  

More about the Board of Trustees

Responsibility for the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation lies with the Foundation Board. It is currently chaired by Peter Ruzicka, member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. Other members are Ferdinand von Siemens as Vice Chairman, Elisabeth Bourqui, Eric Fellhauer, Elisabeth Oltramare, Herbert Scheidt, Christoph von Seidel and Christian Wildmoser.

More about the Foundation Board