ANN ARBOR—M-Prize, the largest chamber music competition in the world in terms of both prize money and number of applications, will hold its inaugural semifinals and finals concerts at the University of Michigan May 17-19.
The competition is based at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The M-Prize Grand Prize winner, to be announced at the conclusion of the Gala senior finals concert at 5:30 p.m. May 19 at Hill Auditorium, will take home $100,000, the largest award of any competition of its kind. The winner will also be presented by the U-M's University Musical Society on their chamber arts concert series next season. In addition, the concert will be broadcast on Detroit Public Television and made available to PBS stations throughout the country.
Announced last October, the M-Prize Competition, created to identify and showcase the highest caliber of chamber music ensembles in the world, has received a total of 172 applications from 13 countries, officially making it the largest chamber music competition in the nation and world. Twenty-nine ensembles, comprising 120 artists, have been invited to participate in the semi-final and finals rounds.
The competitors represent three countries (U.S., France, Germany) and 17 states.
"The level of artistry and the brilliant variety of ensembles that have applied to M-Prize is nothing short of remarkable," said Aaron Dworkin, who founded the competition soon after beginning his tenure last fall as dean of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. "There has truly never been anything like this in the history of chamber music. I believe it will be a game-changer in rewarding the excellence of this vibrant genre and in building new audiences for it."
In addition to the Grand Prize, another $100,000 will be distributed among the top three winners in three different categories—strings, woodwinds and "open"—in Junior (ages 18 and under) and Senior (ages 19-35) divisions. The "open" category can feature any instrumentation, including percussion, voice or technology, and music that contains a significant amount of improvisation such as jazz, bluegrass and world music.
Since its announcement last fall, M-Prize has amassed a number of organizations to join the University Musical Society as Founding Presenting Partners; all will present the 2016 Grand Prize winner in upcoming programming. They include Center Stage Strings, Interlochen Presents, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Rockefeller University and University of Florida Performing Arts.
A screening jury, representing expert academics and performers, chose the semifinalists in all categories and divisions. The jury included Toni-Marie Montgomery (collaborative pianist and dean, Northwestern University), Steve Tenenbom (violist, Orion String Quartet and faculty, Curtis Institute of Music), Chris Coletti (trumpet, Canadian Brass), Donald Sinta (Professor Emeritus of Saxophone, University of Michigan), Glenn Kotche (Wilco drummer and percussionist/composer) and Jeffrey Zeigler (former cellist with the Kronos Quartet).
M-Prize is sponsored by U-M's Office of the Provost and received additional support from an anonymous donor. The goals of the competition are to provide a world-class performance and adjudication platform for chamber arts; to launch and advance the careers of chamber ensembles through prizes, visibility and professional development opportunities; and to evolve the breadth and depth of the chamber arts landscape and associated professional opportunities for exceptional ensembles.
For a complete schedule of the semifinal, final, and Grand Prize Gala Concert competitions, visit MPrize.umich.edu. Free tickets are required for the Grand Prize Gala Concert and must be picked up in advance of the concert at the Information Office in the Earl V. Moore Building, 1100 Baits Dr., Ann Arbor, during business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays). Call 734-647-6310 for more information. Grand Prize Gala Concert seating is limited.
M-Prize Finals competitors:
- Calliope Trio
- Chimera Quartet
- Philadelphos Trio
- Vibrante Quartet
- Breakneck Brass Quintet
- Nonamé Quintet
- Precipice Saxophone Quartet
- KDJ Trio
- The Percussion Scholarship Group
- Calidore String Quartet
- Omer Quartet
- Rolston String Quartet
- Telegraph Quartet
- Trio Karenine
- Verona Quartet
- Axiom Brass
- Daraja Ensemble
- Donald Sinta Quartet
- East End Quartet
- Kenari Quartet
- Project Fusion
- The Parhelion Trio
- Sandbox Percussion