Finalists have been announced since 1980.


2015 Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe (Red Poppy Music/G. Schirmer, Inc.)

A powerful oratorio for chorus and sextet evoking Pennsylvania coal-mining life around the turn of the 20th Century.

More details
2014 Become Ocean by John Luther Adams (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)

A haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.

More details
2013 Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw (New Amsterdam Records)

A highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects (New Amsterdam Records).

More details
2012 Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts by Kevin Puts (Aperto Press)

A stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart. Libretto by Mark Campbell (Aperto Press).

More details
2011 Madame White Snake by Zhou Long (Oxford University Press)

Premiered on February 26, 2010 by Opera Boston at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, a deeply expressive opera that draws on a Chinese folk tale to blend the musical traditions of the East and the West. Libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs (Oxford University Press).

More details
2010 Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon (Lawdon Press)

Jennifer Higdon for “Violin Concerto,” premiered on February 6, 2009, in Indianapolis, IN, a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity (Lawdon Press).

More details
2009 Double Sextet by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes)

A major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear.

More details
2008 "The Little Match Girl Passion" by David Lang

Co-commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and The Perth Theater and Concert Hall, and premiered October 25, 2007 in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City (G. Schirmer, Inc.).

More details
2007 Sound Grammar by Ornette Coleman

Recording released September 12, 2006.

More details
2006 Piano Concerto: 'Chiavi in Mano' by Yehudi Wyner (Associated Music Publishers)

Premiered February 17, 2005 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (Associated Music Publishers, Inc.)

More details
2005 Second Concerto for Orchestra by Steven Stucky (Theodore Presser Company)

Premiered March 12, 2004 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. (Theodore Presser Company)

More details
2004 Tempest Fantasy by Paul Moravec

Premiered by the Trio Solisti and clarinet soloist David Krakauer on May 2, 2003 at the Morgan Library, New York City.

More details
2003 On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams (Boosey & Hawkes)

Premiered by the New York Philharmonic on September 19, 2002 at Avery Fisher Hall. (Boosey & Hawkes)

More details
2002 Ice Field by Henry Brant

Premiered on December 12, 2001 at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California.

More details
2001 Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra by John Corigliano (G. Schirmer)

Premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on November 30, 2000 at Symphony Hall, Boston, MA.

More details
2000 Life is a Dream, Opera in Three Acts: Act II, Concert Version by Lewis Spratlan

Premiered on January 28, 2000 by Dinosaur Annex in Amherst, MA. Libretto by James Maraniss.

More details
1999 Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion by Melinda Wagner

Premiered on May 30, 1998 by the Westchester Philharmonic in Purchase, New York, and commissioned by that orchestra for Paul Lustig Dunkel.

More details
1998 String Quartet #2 (musica instrumentalis) by Aaron Jay Kernis

Premiered on January 10, 1998, at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, by The Lark Quartet.

More details
1997 Blood on the Fields by Wynton Marsalis

Premiered on January 28, 1997 at Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

More details
1996 Lilacs, for voice and orchestra by George Walker

Premiered on February 1, 1996, in Boston by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was commissioned by that orchestra.

More details
1995 Stringmusic by Morton Gould

Premiered on March 10, 1994, by the National Symphony Orchestra at The John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C..

More details
1994 Of Reminiscences and Reflections by Gunther Schuller

Premiered on December 2, 1993, in Louisville, Ky. Performed and commissioned by The Louisville Orchestra.

1993 Trombone Concerto by Christopher Rouse

Premiered December 30, 1992, in New York by the New York Philharmonic.

1992 The Face of the Night, The Heart of the Dark by Wayne Peterson

Premiered on October 17, 1991, by the San Francisco Symphony.

1991 Symphony by Shulamit Ran

Commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra and premiered by that orchestra on October 19, 1990.

1990 "Duplicates": A Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Mel Powell

Premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic on January 26, 1990.

1989 Whispers Out of Time by Roger Reynolds

Premiered on December 11, 1988, at Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College, Massachusetts.

1988 12 New Etudes for Piano by William Bolcom

First complete performance by Marc-Andre Hamelin, pianist, on March 30, 1987 at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa.

1987 The Flight Into Egypt by John Harbison

Premiered by the Cantata Singers and Ensemble on November 21, 1986, at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

1986 Wind Quintet IV by George Perle

Premiered on October 2, 1985 at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.

1985 Symphony, RiverRun by Stephen Albert

Premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra on January 17, 1985.

1984 "Canti del Sole" for Tenor and Orchestra by Bernard Rands

Premiered by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on June 8, 1983.

1983 Symphony No. I (Three Movements for Orchestra) by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and premiered by that orchestra on May 5, 1982 in Alice Tully Hall, New York City.

1982 Concerto for Orchestra by Roger Sessions

First performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on October 23, 1981, Seiji Ozawa, conductor.

1981 (No Award)
1980 In Memory of a Summer Day by David Del Tredici

A work for soprano solo and orchestra, commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony for its 100th anniversary and premiered by that orchestra on February 23, 1980.

1979 Aftertones of Infinity by Joseph Schwantner

First performed by the American Composers Orchestra on January 29, 1979 in Alice Tully Hall New York City.

1978 Deja Vu for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra by Michael Colgrass

Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered by that orchestra October 20, 1977.

1977 Visions of Terror and Wonder by Richard Wernick

For mezzo-soprano and orchestra, premiered at the Aspen Music Festival, July 19, 1976. It was commissioned by the Festival's Conference on Contemporary Music, with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts.

1976 Air Music by Ned Rorem

First performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on December 5, 1975. It is subtitled "Ten Etudes of Orchestra."

1975 From the Diary of Virginia Woolf by Dominick Argento

For medium voice and piano, commissioned by the Schubert Club of St. Paul, and premiered January 5, 1975 in Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis.

1974 Notturno by Donald Martino

A chamber music piece commissioned by the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation and first performed May 15, 1973 a Alice Tully Hall, New York City, by Speculum Musicae.

1973 String Quartet No. 3 by Elliott Carter

Premiered by the Juilliard String Quartet at Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City, on January 23, 1973.

1972 Windows by Jacob Druckman

Premiered by the Chicago Symphony on March 16, 1972 at Orchestra Hall, Chicago.

1971 Synchronisms No. 6 for Piano and Electronic Sound (1970) by Mario Davidovsky

Premiered August 19, 1970 at the Berkshire Music Festival.

1970 Time's Encomium by Charles Wuorinen

Premiered in its entirety at the Berkshire Music Festival on August 16, 1969.

1969 String Quartet No. 3 by Karel Husa

First performed at the Goodman Theater, Chicago, on October 14, 1968 by the Fine Arts Quartet.

1968 Echoes of Time and the River by George Crumb

An orchestral suite first performed on May 26, 1967 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, having been commissioned by the University in connection with the celebration of its 75th anniversary.

1967 Quartet No. 3 by Leon Kirchner

First performed by the Beaux Arts Quartet in Town Hall, January 27, 1967.

1966 Variations for Orchestra by Leslie Bassett

First performed in the United States by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on October 22, 1965.

1965 (No Award)
1963 Piano Concerto No. 1 by Samuel Barber

Premiered with the Boston Symphony at Philharmonic Hall on September 24, 1962.

1962 The Crucible by Robert Ward

For an opera in three acts, libretto by Bernard Stambler, based on the play by Arthur Miller. First performed at New York City Center, on October 26, 1961 by the New York City Opera Company.

1961 Symphony No. 7 by Walter Piston

First performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra on February 10, 1961, and commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

1960 Second String Quartet by Elliott Carter

First performed at the Juilliard School of Music, March 25, 1960.

1959 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by John LaMontaine

First performed in Washington, D.C. by the National Symphony Orchestra on November 25, 1958.

1958 Vanessa by Samuel Barber

An opera in four acts, libretto by Gian-Carlo Menotti. First presented January 15,1958, at the Metropolitan Opera House.

1957 Meditations on Ecclesiastes by Norman Dello Joio

First performed at the Juilliard School of Music on April 20, 1956.

1956 Symphony No. 3 by Ernst Toch

First performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, December 2, 1955.

1955 The Saint of Bleecker Street by Gian-Carlo Menotti

For an opera first performed at the Broadway Theater, New York, December 27, 1954.

1954 Concerto For Two Pianos and Orchestra by Quincy Porter

First performed by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, March 17, 1954. This was one of the works commissioned under a grant of the Rockefeller Foundation for new American compositions for orchestra, or soloists and orchestra.

1953 (No Award)
1952 Symphony Concertante by Gail Kubik

Performed at Town Hall, January, 7, 1952.

1951 Music in "Giants in the Earth" by Douglas S. Moore

Produced by Columbia Opera Workshop, March 28, 1951.

1950 Music in The Consul by Gian-Carlo Menotti

Produced at the Barrymore Theater, New York.

1949 Music for the film Louisiana Story by Virgil Thomson

Released in 1948 by Robert Flaherty Productions.

1948 Symphony, No. 3 by Walter Piston

First performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, January, 1948.

1947 Symphony No. 3 by Charles Ives

First performed by Lou Harrison and Chamber Orchestra in New York, April, 1946.

1946 The Canticle of the Sun by Leo Sowerby

Commissioned by the Alice M Ditson Fund, first performed by the Schola Cantorum in New York, April 1945.

1945 Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland

A ballet written for and presented by Martha Graham and group, commissioned by Mrs. E. S. Coolidge, first presented at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. October, 1944.

1944 Symphony No. 4. Opus 34 by Howard Hanson

Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on December 3, 1943.

1943 Secular Cantata No. 2. A Free Song by William Schuman

Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and published by G. Schirmer, Inc., New York.


2015 Xiaoxiang by Lei Liang (Schott Music Corporation)

A concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra, inspired by a widow’s wail and blending the curious sensations of grief and exhilaration.

2015 The Aristos by John Zorn

A parade of stylistically diverse sounds for violin, cello and piano that create a vivid demonstration of the brain in fluid, unpredictable action.

2014 The Gospel According to the Other Mary by John Adams (Boosey & Hawkes)

A monumental oratorio about the final period of Christ’s life that is marked by impassioned music – sometimes forceful, sometimes lyrical -- and an ingenious variety of evocative sounds.

2014 Invisible Cities by Christopher Cerrone (Outburst-Inburst Musics)

A captivating opera based on a novel by Italo Calvino in which Marco Polo regales Kublai Khan with tales of fantastical cities, adapted into an imaginary sonic landscape.

2013 Pieces of Winter Sky by Aaron Jay Kernis (Associated Music Publishers, Inc.)

A luminous work that takes listeners into a mystical realm marked by taut expressive control and extraordinarily subtle changes of tone, texture and nuance.

2013 Ten Freedom Summers by Wadada Leo Smith (Cuneiform Records)

An expansive jazz work that memorializes 10 key moments in the history of civil rights in America, fusing composed and improvised passages into powerful, eloquent music.

2012 Death and the Powers by Tod Machover (Boosey & Hawkes)

An inventive opera that uses electronic music as it explores a dying billionaire’s attempt to transcend mortality through technology, raising significant questions about human existence. Libretto by Robert Pinsky.

2012 The Companion Guide to Rome by Andrew Norman (Schott Music)

An impressive musical portrait of nine historic churches, written for a string trio but sometimes giving the illusion of being played by a much larger group, changing mood and mode on a dime.

2011 Arches by Fred Lerdahl

Premiered on November 19, 2010 at Miller Theatre, Columbia University, a consistently original concerto that sustains an extraordinary level of sensuous invention as it evolves from one moment to the next.

2011 Comala by Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon

Recording released in June, 2010 by Bridge Records, an ambitious cantata that translates into music an influential work of Latin American literature, giving voice to two cultures that intersect within the term “America.”

2010 String Quartet No. 3 by Fred Lerdahl

Premiered on December 8, 2009, in Cleveland, Ohio, a remarkable work that displays impeccable technical facility and palpable emotion.

2010 Steel Hammer by Julia Wolfe (G. Schirmer, Inc.)

Premiered on November 13, 2009, in Gainesville, FL, an innovative composition that, with voices and old-time instruments, turns the old folk tune “John Henry” into an epic distillation of Appalachia.

2009 7 Etudes for Solo Piano by Don Byron (nottuskegeelike music/BMI)

A deft set of studies that display rhythmic inventiveness and irresistible energy, charm and wit.

2009 Brion by Harold Meltzer (Urban Scrawl Music Company)

A sonic portrait of a cemetery in northern Italy painted with the touch of a watercolorist and marked by an episodic structure and vivid playfulness that offer a graceful, sensual and contemplative experience.

2008 Meanwhile by Stephen Hartke (ELR Music Publishing, Inc.) Premiered November 7, 2007 at the University of Richmond.
2008 Concerto for Viola by Roberto Sierra (Subito Music Publishing) Premiered November 11, 2007 at Barnes Hall, Ithaca, NY.
2007 Grendel by Elliot Goldenthal

Premiered June 8, 2006 by the Los Angeles Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, libretto by Julie Taymor and J.D. McClatchy.

2007 Astral Canticle by Augusta Read Thomas

Premiered June 1, 2006 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (G. Schirmer, Inc.)

2006 Neruda Songs by Peter Lieberson (Associated Music Publishers)

Premiered May 20, 2005 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

2006 Si Ji (Four Seasons) by Chen Yi (Theodore Presser Company)

Premiered October 13, 2005 by the Cleveland Orchestra.

2005 You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes)

Premiered October 23, 2004 by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

2005 Dialogues by Elliot Carter (Boosey & Hawkes)

Premiered in the U.S. June 7, 2004 by Musicians from The Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the MusicNOW contemporary music series in Chicago, Ill.

2004 Cello Counterpoint by Steve Reich

Premiered on October 18, 2003 at The Krannert Center, Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (Boosey & Hawkes)

2004 Piano Concerto No. 3 by Peter Lieberson

Premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra on November 26, 2003 in Minneapolis, Minn. (G. Schirmer, Inc.)

2003 Three Tales by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes)

Premiered on May 31, 2002, at the Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, S.C.

2003 Camp Songs by Paul Schoenfeld

Commissioned by Music of Remembrance and premiered on April 7, 2002 at MOR's Holocaust Remembrance concert, Not In Vain!, at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Wash.

2002 Rilke Songs by Peter Lieberson

Premiered on July 18, 2001, in Santa Fe, NM.

2002 Ten of a Kind (Symphony No.2) by David Rakowski

Premiered on May 20, 2001 at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

2001 Tituli by Stephen Hartke

Premiered on January 15, 2001 at Alfred Newman Recital Hall, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

2001 Time After Time by Fred Lerdahl

Premiered on December 12, 2000 at Merkin Hall, New York City.

2000 Serenata Concertante by Donald Martino

Premiered on April 19, 1999 at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City

2000 contes de fees by John Zorn

Premiered on February 17, 2000 at the Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

1999 Persistent Memory by David Rakowski

Premiered on March 7, 1998 by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

1999 Concerto for Orchestra by Stanislav Skorwaczewski

Premiered on November 19, 1998 by the Curtis Symphony at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

1998 Century Rolls by John Adams

Premiered on September 25, 1997, at Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, by The Cleveland Orchestra.

1998 Horntrio by Yehudi Wyner

Premiered on December 7, 1997, at several locations.

1997 Dove Sta Amore by John Musto

Premiered on March 2, 1996, by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, in Jacksonville, Fla.

1997 Passacaglia Immaginaria by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

Premiered on April 12, 1996, by the Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis.

1996 Variations for Violin and Piano by Peter Lieberson

Premiered on May 28, 1995, at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.

1996 Adagio Tenebroso by Elliott Carter

Premiered on October 15, 1995, in Birmingham, Ala., by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

1995 Evensong by Donald Erb

Premiered on May 5, 1994 by The Cleveland Orchestra in Youngstown, Ohio

1995 Adam by Andrew Imbrie

a cantata for mixed chorus with soprano solo and small orchestra, premiered on November 4, 1994, at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

1994 Still Movement with Hymn by Aaron Jay Kernis

Premiered on November 11, 1993, at Princeton University and commissioned by American Public Radio.

1994 Microsymphony by Charles Wuorinen

Premiered on March 19, 1993, in Philadelphia and commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

1993 Music for Cello and Orchestra by Leon Kirchner

Premiered on October 16, 1992, in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Orchestra and commissioned by that orchestra.

1993 Violin Concerto by Joan Tower

Premiered on April 24, 1992, in Salt Lake City by the Utah Symphony.

1992 Concerto Fantastique by Ralph Shapey

Premiered on November 21, 1992, by The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

1991 Four Movements for Piano by Bright Sheng

Premiered in New York City on April 24, 1990 by the Peabody Trio.

1991 Wilde: A Symphony in Three Movements by Charles Fussell

Premiered on November 4, 1990, in Newton, Mass., by the Newton Symphony Orchestra; text by Will Graham.

1990 Concerto for Cello, Piano and String Orchestra by Ralph Shapey

Premiered on July 31, 1989 at Tanglewood Music Center.

1989 H'un (Lacerations): In Memoriam 1966-1976 by Bright Sheng

Premiered on April 17, 1988, at the 92nd Street Y, New York City

1989 Concerto for Orchestra by Steven Stucky

Premiered on October 27, 1988, in Philadelphia.

1988 Concerto For String Quartet and Orchestra by Gunther Schuller

Premiered on February 20, 1988, by the Pro Arte Quartet and the Madison Symphony Orchestra at the Oscar Mayer Theatre in Madison, Wis.

1987 Flower of the Mountain by Stephen Albert

Premiered on May 17, 1986, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City by the Y Chamber Orchestra.

1986 Symphony No. 5 by George Rochberg

Premiered on March 13, 1986 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

1985 Songs of Innocence and Experience, a Musical Illumination of the Poems of William Blake by William Bolcom

Premiered at the University of Michigan on April 11, 1984.

1984 Piano Concerto by Peter Lieberson

Premiered on April 21, 1983 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

1983 Drama for Orchestra by Vivian Fine

Premiered on January 5, 1983 by the San Francisco Symphony, at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

1980 Quintets for Orchestra by Lukas Foss

Premiered by the Cleveland Orchestra.

1980 After the Butterfly by Morton Subotnick

Premiered at the Monday Evening Concerts, Los Angeles County Museum.