PhD Composer Kari Watson Receives 2023 Kranichstein Music Prize

Kari Watson headshot


The Department of Music is delighted to share the news that PhD composer Kari Watson has received the 2023 Kranichstein Music Prize. The Kranichstein Music Prize has been awarded to active participants at the end of the Darmstadt Summer Course since 1952. To date, a total of 183 prize winners have been honored. For many of them, the prestigious award represented an important step at the beginning of their career as a musician, ensemble or composer.

This year’s independent jury consisted of composer and University Professor Karola Obermüller, music journalist Leonie Reineke, and tuba player and composer Melvyn Poore.

“Kari Watson’s music has bite as well as poetry. The composer speaks her own language between surreal-synthetic sound worlds and radio-play-like collage," reads an excerpt from the jury statement for the prize.

The jury also selected a second award recipient, percussionist Romane Bouffioux. The awarding of the prize also concludes the 51st Darmstadt Summer Course, which ended on August 19 with a concert by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony conducted by the French conductor Pierre Bleuse with works by the recently deceased Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Morton Feldman, and a world premiere by Mariam Rezaei (turntables/composition) and Matthew Shlomowitz.

Around 380 active participants and 60 lecturers from 51 nations as well as many international guests took part in the summer course. In courses, workshops, lectures and an extensive public concert program with 29 world premieres and four commissioned compositions, the focus was on the creative process as well as collaborative forms of work and sustainable production methods in all their facets.

Read the full news announcement from the International Music Institute Darmstadt.