British composer wins 50,000 Euro prize

British composer wins 50,000 Euro prize


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2015

Berlin based and busy mostly in Germany, Rebecca Saunders has been awarded the Mauricio Kagel prize for being ‘a persistent seeker in the realms of sound’. She has been composer in residence at the concert halls of Dortmund and Dresden and has achieved one premiere at the BBC Proms (pictured, 2009, by Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts).


Rebecca Saunders


  • Nigel Curtis says:

    Thank god it didn’t go to Salonen !

    Rebecca Saunders is a great choice

    • harold braun says:

      Salonen is a hundred times better than she.Listened to her dreadful, boring,would be German avant-garde violin concerto.If it has to be a British Women, Helen Grime would have been a great choice!

  • John Borstlap says:

    One of those women who have picked-up the clichées from half a century ago in an attempt to imitate the ‘groundbreaking, aggressive, transformative’ men who thought, after WW II, they were composers. These postwar ‘explorers’ tried to provoke a ‘bourgeois, conservative audience’ who had ‘wrong ideas about music’ and needed enlightened instruction. That has certainly helped, and by now this type of ‘music’ has become the Biedermeier convention of the Obligatory Modern Piece that occasionally adornes a concert programme. Anybody doubt? Listen to this ‘violin concerto:

    In Germany, this type of ‘music’ is considered a reassuring gesture to the world (as far as the world wants to listen) that the Nazi period has now been overcome, because Hitler loved Wagner and Bruckner.

    • Horst says:

      Thanks John! Nothing else to add….

    • harold braun says:

      Bravo Mr.Borstlap!She lived in Germany for too long to be a good composer.Anna Clyne and,or Helen Grime would have been far better choices.They know how to write for an orchestra, brilliant, complex,colourful and harmonically lush and interesting. None of the Donaueshingen crap…

  • Graeme Hall says:

    Great choice! She is very talented.

  • Robert McCarthy says:

    Unlike you – a ‘man’ – who re-cooks cliches ‘borrowed’ from music written 150 years ago.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Actually, it’s 114 years ago and music was much better at the time.

      • John Borstlap says:

        PS As concerning gender: it’s disturbing to see females imitating aggressive males, as if aggressive males are not bad enough. It’s following an image of ‘heroism’, which was attractive when modernism was new and could hope on a future.

  • CDH says:

    What I want to know is, how many women candidates were there, how many made the short list, and how many women were among the judges. 😀

  • Martin Locher says:

    As per

    Jury 2015: Georges Delnon, Henk Heuvelmans, Louwrens Langevoort, Renate Liesmann-Baum, Elisabeth Schweeger
    3 men, 2 women.

    Past juries and winners:
    2013: Dr. Winrich Hopp, Renate Liesmann, Louwrens Langevoort, Mariette Piekenbrock, Dr. Elisabeth Schweeger
    Winner: Michel van der Aa

    2011: Dr. Winrich Hopp, Renate Liesmann, Louwrens Langevoort, Mariette Piekenbrock, Dr. Elisabeth Schweeger
    Winner: Georges Aperghis

    So in the past they had 3 women in the jury, but male winners.

  • harold braun says:

    Great jury: no musician on the panel!Ridiculous!But,at least one choice is apt.Michael van Der Aa is a fantastic composer

  • Mika says:

    …minor talent if that….no originality, she delivers to the unwashed what is expected of a “modern” composer ….much having been done before and better ,but she fits the bill
    as modern … much sturm und drag meaning nothing . As these things go if she were original to any degree she would never have won a prize .

  • AnnaT says:

    Presumably, it doesn’t have to be a “British Women,” but was awarded to Saunders for the quality of her music.