Kennedy Center Friedheim Award

Last updated

The Kennedy Center Friedheim Award was an annual award given for instrumental music composition by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.. It was established in 1978 [1] and ended in 1995. The award was given only to American composers.


The award was established by Eric Friedheim (1910–2002), the publisher of Travel Agent magazine and a patron of the arts, and funded by the Eric Friedheim Foundation and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund. He endowed the award in honor of his father, the pianist Arthur Friedheim (1859–1932), who had studied with Franz Liszt. [2]

The first prize was US$5,000, the second prize was $2,500 (originally $2,000), the third prize was $1,000, and the fourth prize was $500. There was no fourth prize until 1984, and the third prize was originally $500. The winners were narrowed down from often over 100 entries, to four or five finalists. The works were performed and the awards were given at an awards ceremony, which was held each year at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The award alternated every other year between orchestral and chamber music.

From 1978 to 1995, 18 Friedheim Awards concerts were performed, drawn from 1,883 submissions, and a total of $158,500 in cash prizes was distributed to 70 American composers.

The awards came to an end following the last ceremony in 1995, when Eric Friedheim decided to withdraw his financial support, choosing to instead donate his remaining financial assets to the Peabody Institute.




















Related Research Articles

Pulitzer Prize for Music prize awarded for music

The Pulitzer Prize for Music is one of seven Pulitzer Prizes awarded annually in Letters, Drama, and Music. It was first given in 1943. Joseph Pulitzer arranged for a music scholarship to be awarded each year, and this was eventually converted into a prize: "For a distinguished musical composition of significant dimension by an American that has had its first performance in the United States during the year."

Contemporary classical music is classical music relative to the present day. At the beginning of the 21st century, it commonly referred to the post-1945 modern forms of post-tonal music after the death of Anton Webern, and included serial music, electronic music, experimental music, and minimalist music. Newer forms of music include spectral music, and post-minimalism.

Gunther Schuller American composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian, educator, publisher, and jazz musician

Gunther Alexander Schuller was an American composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian educator, publisher, and jazz musician.

Osvaldo Noé Golijov is an Argentine composer of classical music and music professor, known for his vocal and orchestral work.

George Rochberg was an American composer of contemporary classical music. Long a serial composer, Rochberg abandoned the practice following the death of his teenage son in 1964; he claimed this compositional technique had proved inadequate to express his grief and had found it empty of expressive intent. By the 1970s, Rochberg's use of tonal passages in his music had invoked controversy among critics and fellow composers. A teacher at the University of Pennsylvania until 1983, Rochberg also served as chairman of its music department until 1968 and was named the first Annenberg Professor of the Humanities in 1978. For notable students See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#George Rochberg.

Dawn Upshaw is an American soprano. The recipient of several Grammy Awards and Edison Prize-winning discs, she performs both opera and art song, and in repertoire from Baroque to contemporary. Many composers, including Henri Dutilleux, Osvaldo Golijov, John Harbison, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, and Kaija Saariaho, have written for her. In 2007, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Steven ("Steve") Mackey is an American composer, guitarist, and music educator.

Richard Wernick is an American composer. He is best known for his chamber and vocal works. His composition Visions of Terror and Wonder won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Joseph Clyde Schwantner is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, educator and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2002. He was awarded the 1970 Charles Ives Prize.

The Theodore Presser Company is an American music publishing and distribution company located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, formerly King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and originally based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States. It has been owned by Carl Fischer Music since 2004.

David Krakauer American clarinetist

David Krakauer is an American clarinetist who performs klezmer, jazz, classical music, and avant-garde improvisation.

Neva Pilgrim is an American soprano known for her work in the performance of contemporary classical music.

Stephen Jaffe American composer

Stephen Jaffe is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, United States, and serves on the music faculty of Duke University, where he holds the post of Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition; his colleagues there include composers Scott Lindroth and Anthony Kelley. Jaffe graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977; he received a master's degree the following year from the same institution. During his time in Pennsylvania, he studied with George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick.

Octavio Brunetti was a pianist, arranger and composer from Argentina. He was best known for his participation in the album Te amo tango by Raul Jaurena, which won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album in 2007, and was one of the most sought after tango pianists.

The St. Lawrence String Quartet is a Canadian string quartet, and one of Canada's premier chamber ensembles.

David T. Little is an American composer and drummer known for his orchestral and operatic works, most notably his opera Dog Days which was named a standout opera of recent decades by The New York Times. He is the artistic director of Newspeak, an eight-piece amplified ensemble that explores the boundaries between rock and classical music, and is a member of the composition faculty at Mannes School of Music.

La Pasión según San Marcos is a contemporary classical composition by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. It was finished in 2000 and is amongst Golijov's most well known compositions. It is famous for combining several Latin and African musical styles.

The Symphony is a symphony for orchestra by the Israeli-American composer Shulamit Ran. The work was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Muti in 1987 and was given its world premiere on October 19, 1990. The piece was awarded the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Music and took the first place Kennedy Center Friedheim Award that same year. It was composed in a primarily atonal style.

Thomas Ludwig is an American composer of classical music and a symphony conductor. His works have been performed and recorded with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the New York City Symphony, and have won prizes at the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards in Washington, D.C. and the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival.

The Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is an international music prize for composers of chamber music. The US$25,000 cash award is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the chamber music repertory. The money was donated by Milan Stoeger, a psychoanalyst and a long-time subscriber to the Chamber Music Society, in honor of his wife. The Elise L. Stoeger Prize was established in 1987.


  1. "Four Composers Vie For Friedheim Awards". August 20, 1989 via
  2. Saxon, Wolfgang (September 6, 2002). "Eric Friedheim, 92, Publisher and Arts Patron" via