“The British composer Rebecca Saunders has said it is ‘extraordinary’ that she is the first female composer to win one of classical music’s most prestigious international prizes,” writes Mark Brown in Thursday’s (1/17) Guardian (U.K.). “Saunders has [been] awarded the €250,000 Ernst von Siemens Music prize, known as the Nobel prize for music and given for lifelong service. The first recipient was Benjamin Britten in 1974. The Berlin-based composer … joins a spectacular roll call of winners over five decades which includes Pierre Boulez, Yehudi Menuhin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Harrison Birtwistle and Daniel Barenboim. Prior to Saunders, the only woman to win was the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in 2008. Saunders said … ‘Today there is just such a wealth of very talented, strong, confident female composers who are at last being publicly recognized and becoming increasingly visible. It has changed significantly since I was young.’ … She said there were relatively few women of her generation who had managed to survive the difficult period between [ages] 25 and 40 and stay there…. Saunders, born in London in 1967 … said [the prize] would help provide long-term stability and freedom to do the projects she wants.”

Posted January 18, 2019