This March, Olga Neuwirth was announced as the 2022 recipient of the international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. This prize, worth € 250,000, is regarded as the most important classical music award in the German-speaking region. In explaining its decision, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation praised Neuwirth as an artist who, “with her music, sets out on radical new paths that lend contemporary music a new face while also intervening, taking a stand, and not shying away from addressing wrongs. Neuwirth, who has been creating works that combine feminist concerns with multimedia practice ever since the late 1980s, is one of her era’s most influential composers.”
Olga Neuwirth, who was born in Graz in 1968, studied painting and film in San Francisco as well as composing at the mdw. In 1991, the première of her “mini-operas” based on texts by Elfriede Jelinek at the festival Wiener Festwochen in Vienna made international waves. Her outstanding music theatre works include Bählamms Fest (1998), Lost Highway (2003), and The Outcast (2010). And more recently, in 2019, Neuwirth’s Orlando after Virginia Woolf was given its world première at the Vienna State Opera. Important works to date also include compositions for orchestra, chamber formations, and other types of ensembles as well as film music and audio-visual installations situated at the interface between music, film, architecture, and fine art. Since autumn 2021, Olga Neuwirth has been teaching at the mdw as a professor of composition. The award ceremony of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation will take place at Munich’s Prinzregententheater on 2 June 2022.