Massive US chamber music prize is cancelled

Massive US chamber music prize is cancelled


norman lebrecht

December 06, 2018

The University of Michigan’s $100,000 M-Prize has been called off for lack of funds.

Here’s what they say:

Thank you for three great years…

With deep appreciation for the incredible artistry that the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition has had the pleasure of celebrating over the last three years, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) has regrettably determined that financial support for the competition cannot be sustained. As a result, the M-Prize Competition has terminated and will not return in 2019.


“M-Prize was an exciting and important enterprise that helped raise the profile of the chamber arts in such a vital way,” said Dave Gier, dean of SMTD. “The competition not only gave chamber ensembles from around the world much-deserved attention and support, but it also highlighted SMTD’s ardent commitment to the genre, which will steadfastly continue. Unfortunately, it is not possible to maintain the financial structure needed to continue M-Prize while also supporting SMTD’s own growth in chamber music and its many other disciplines.”


“We are profoundly grateful to U-M Office of the Provost and an anonymous donor, both of whom made it possible for SMTD to run the competition for three inspirational years,” said Matt Albert, outgoing artistic director of M-Prize and chair of SMTD’s Department of Chamber Music. “We are also grateful for the vision illustrated and spearheaded by the faculty Steering Committee and former dean Aaron Dworkin. It has been a great honor to work with the committee, our extraordinary jurors, and SMTD’s administrative team in bringing M-Prize to life, and it has been a joy to witness, first hand, the spectacular talent that is making the future of chamber music so rich and so assured.”

This year’s winners were the Aizuri Quartet.

They’d be well advised the cash the check fast.



  • Lincoln says:

    M-Prize was a great initiative! Hopefully sufficient funds can be raised to start this up again in the future

    • The View from America says:

      I wonder how much of an effort was made to raise funds for the prize to kick in once the funding from the original donor ran out? I didn’t see any news/publicity about any such fundraising effort being undertaken.

      This is emblematic of too many initiatives that atrophy once the “seed money” dries up. Sometimes it’s a public grant, sometimes it’s from a foundation, other times it’s from an individual. Most of the time those resources are short-term. But too often the people running these programs just expect the future money to materialize from somewhere, somehow.

      (This isn’t only an arts phenomenon. I’ve seen it play out this way in social services and economic development initiatives as well.)

      The time to start raising money for the future of an initiative is five minutes after receipt of the original funding. Otherwise it’s just whistling past the graveyard.

  • Tired says:

    How about some homage to Miriam Schwab of Ventura,CA (just north of LA County), who just left $12 million dollars to Ventura College (community college)——$10 MILLION of which is for the music dept!!!

    THAT is a gift.

  • Troubled says:

    How about some credit to someone like Miriam Schwab, Ventura, CA, who—upon her death at age 90–gave the performing arts school at Ventura College $10 MILLION. THAT is a gift not many people give. At 90, she still performed as a violinist and lectured the conductor of the college orchestra about programming.