24 October 2016
The New York Philharmonic announces the creation of a Classical Piano Award prize which goes to Benjamin Grosvenor
The New York Philharmonic has announced the creation of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic, with 24-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor named the inaugural recipient. The Ackman Prize is to be awarded every three years to an up-and-coming pianist or piano duo chosen by a confidential panel comprising prominent pianists, New York Philharmonic leadership, and other recognized musical figures. Prize winners receive $30,000 and will perform with the New York Philharmonic, play chamber music with Philharmonic musicians, and serve as classical music ambassadors, taking part in community engagement and education initiatives around New York City. The Ackman Prize is made possible by a generous gift from Philharmonic Board Member Lawrence Ackman and his wife, Ronnie.
Inaugural Ackman Prize recipient Benjamin Grosvenor will make his New York Philharmonic subscription debut during the 2017-18 season, April 4-7, 2018, marking his first collaboration with the Philharmonic in New York City. Program details and other activities will be announced at a later date.
“I am thrilled to receive the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize from the New York Philharmonic,” said Benjamin Grosvenor. “To be the first recipient of this prize, generously sponsored by Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman, and awarded by one of the world’s great orchestras, is an immense honor. I was fortunate in making my New York debut in Carnegie Hall when I was 13 and from that occasion onwards have always been touched by the warmth I have experienced from New York audiences. I look forward greatly to making my subscription debut with the New York Philharmonic and also to becoming involved in community music projects in a city that has always treated me like one of its own, and which has such a rich musical history and culture.”
“We are delighted and honored to work with the New York Philharmonic in establishing this prize,” said Lawrence Ackman, speaking for the couple. “I inherited my love for the New York Philharmonic from my grandmother, and Ronnie is a pianist herself, so this was the ideal way to act on both of our passions. I congratulate the panel on choosing Benjamin Grosvenor as the inaugural recipient — he perfectly captures the artistry and advocacy that the Prize was created to celebrate, and we look forward to experiencing both in his upcoming Philharmonic collaborations.”
“I am grateful that Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman’s generosity has made it possible for us to celebrate and support the artistry and contributions of pianists,” said New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien. “I can think of no one better than Benjamin Grosvenor to inaugurate this new honor, which marks the vital role that pianists play in our world, not only as collaborators in concerto appearances and chamber music, but also as musical ambassadors representing the vibrancy of our art form.”
Benjamin Grosvenor made his New York Philharmonic debut on a Young People’s Concert in London as part of the Philharmonic’s inaugural residency at the Barbican Centre under the auspices of its International Associates initiative during the Orchestra’s EUROPE / WINTER 2012 tour; he performed in “The Masque” from Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert. He again appeared with the Orchestra later that season during the Philharmonic’s Bravo! Vail summer residency, performing Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2, led by Andrey Boreyko.
Grosvenor will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led by Roger Norrington, at Carnegie Hall in April 2017.
Lawrence and Ronnie Ackman are longtime supporters of the New York Philharmonic, particularly the Orchestra’s programs featuring piano soloists. The Lawrence and Ronnie Ackman Family Fund for Distinguished Pianists has supported Philharmonic appearances by notable pianists including Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax, Garrick Ohlsson, André Watts, Jeffrey Kahane, Inon Barnatan, Yuja Wang, and Daniil Trifonov. The Ackmans have also funded The Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Family Patron Lounge in David Geffen Hall. Lawrence Ackman has been a Member of the New York Philharmonic’s Board of Directors since 2010. Ronnie Ackman, a pianist, is on the Lincoln Center Board. The Ackmans’ subscription tenure dates to 1942; it originally belonged to Mr. Ackman’s grandmother.
Image: Decca/Sophie Wright