2012 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition

Aaron Jay Kernis

2012 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition Prize

Aaron Jay Kernis

Yale University School of Music

For critically acclaimed compositions marked by their wide-ranging imagination and visceral emotional power.

Official press release

American composer Aaron Jay Kernis' compositions have garnered significant critical acclaim for their wide-ranging imagination and visceral emotional power. Committed to expressing a creative vision that, as he says, "carries with it the present, past and future at all times," Kernis draws from a vast array of musical and extra-musical influences that includes classical composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Claude Debussy, the poetry of Gertrude Stein, spiritual writing and popular musical forms such as salsa and hip-hop.

Thematically, Kernis' compositions frequently engage topics of profound social and spiritual importance. His catalog includes "Lament and Prayer," "Colored Field," "Second Symphony," "Still Movement with Hymn" and "Symphony of Meditations."

"I am thrilled and deeply grateful to receive the Nemmers Prize, and I thank the jury for this honor, which so generously recognizes a life's work of composing," Kernis said. "Writing music is a solitary pursuit, so it is especially gratifying to sense that the work emerging from that solitude touches people's lives in meaningful ways. I have had many memorable experiences with Chicago's music groups in recent years. It will be a great pleasure to work with the young musicians and faculty at the renowned Bienen School and be in this exciting environment as the school launches its ambitious Institute for New Music."