Hermitage Prize in Composition at AMFS

The Hermitage Prize in Composition given at the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) is the only student residency awarded by the Hermitage each year.

Residencies of past Hermitage Prize recipients from AMFS have led to exciting collaborations, lifelong friendships, and extraordinary new compositions.


This unique initiative, which launched in 2013, reflects an invaluable partnership between the AMFS and the Hermitage, designed to champion new and original works and to recognize exceptional talent in the field of classical music. 

Each summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2013, an exemplary composition student attending the AMFS has been awarded the distinguished Hermitage Prize in recognition of their accomplishments and to foster the development of future work. The recipient is selected by a distinguished panel of AMFS composition faculty and leadership, and receives a residency at the Hermitage, along with a cash stipend. The idea for this recognition was first conceived when Hermitage Fellow Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony and the AMFS, was in residence at the Hermitage. Spano emphasized how beneficial the Hermitage had been for him and his work: “The opportunity to be so focused and undistracted – it’s unbelievable – not only because of the time, but because of the space itself.” Thus, the Hermitage Prize in Composition was created to offer the same experience to young talented composers just beginning their careers.

The video above (also linked here) celebrates and explores ten years of this award and the awardees’ experience.

Since then, ten gifted young composers have had the privilege of being honored with this recognition, and a ninth recipient will be selected this summer. (The Aspen Music Festival was on a hiatus in 2020.) For most recipients of this honor, it is their first professional experience of uninterrupted time to focus on their craft and create their music. The Hermitage Prize is the only student residency awarded amidst approximately 75 curated residencies each year; all other Hermitage Fellows are accomplished working professionals and national leaders in their respective fields. This provides the recipient of the prize the opportunity to share this unmatched Hermitage experience with trailblazing artists from all around the world, including 15 Pulitzer Prize winners, multiple Grammy, Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winners, national Poets Laureate, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows, and more. Hermitage Fellows regularly describe their time at the Hermitage as “magical,” “transformative,” and “life-changing.”


2013 – Patrick Harlin
2014 – Thomas Kotcheff
2015 – Phillip Sink
2016 – Andrew Hsu
2017 – Joel Thompson 
2018 – Sid Richardson
2019 – Chelsea Komschlies
2021 – David Clay Mettens
2022 – Sofía Rocha 
2023 – Matīss Čudars


The Hermitage is a non-profit artist retreat located in Manasota Key, Florida, inviting accomplished artists across multiple disciplines for residencies on its beachfront campus, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermitage artists are invited to interact with the local community, reaching thousands of Gulf Coast residents and visitors each year with unique and inspiring programs. Hermitage Fellows have included 15 Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows, and multiple Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners and nominees. Works created at this beachside retreat by a diverse group of Hermitage alumni have gone on to renowned theaters, concert halls, and galleries throughout the world. Each year, the Hermitage awards the $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize for a new work of art, the newly announced $35,000 Hermitage Major Theater Award for an original theater commission, and the Aspen Music Festival’s Hermitage Prize in Composition. For more information, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.


The AMFS is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 400 musical events during its eight-week summer season in Aspen. The organization draws top classical musicians from around the world to its Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education. Nearly 700 music students from 40+ U.S. states and 30+ countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with 200 renowned artist-faculty members. Students represent the field’s best young talent; many have already begun their professional careers, while others are on the cusp. Renowned alumni include violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Gil Shaham; pianists Ingrid Fliter, Orli Shaham, Conrad Tao, Yuja Wang, Wu Han, and Joyce Yang; conductors Marin Alsop, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Trevino, and Joshua Weilerstein; composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Bright Sheng, and Joan Tower; vocalists Jamie Barton, Sasha Cooke, Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, and Tamara Wilson; cellists Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; guitarist Sharon Isbin; performer Peter Schickele; and bassist Edgar Meyer. The AMFS partners each year with the Hermitage Artist Retreat to present the Hermitage Prize in Composition, a distinguished annual recognition for a young composer.