Wise, elegant, gentle, and caring.
His lifelong philosophy was to give back to the world what music had given to him.
Avery Fisher, lifelong lover and benefactor of classical music, shared with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts a great commitment to nurturing performers. In 1974, Mr. Fisher established Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Artist Program, which includes the Avery Fisher Prize and Avery Fisher Career Grants, the latter to give outstanding instrumentalists significant recognition on which to continue to build their careers. These musicians, who must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents, receive these awards based on excellence alone.
The Program, administered by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, has been recognized as one of the most prestigious in the music world, and instrumentalists continue to treasure both the Prize and the Career Grants. The Avery Fisher Prize is awarded in recognition of musicians who represent the highest level of excellence and whose vision and leadership have taken classical music to an expanded level. Since 1975, Avery Fisher Prize awardees have included Emanuel Ax, Emerson String Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Murray Perahia, André Watts, and many more. The Avery Fisher Career Grants began in 1976, and have been received early in their careers by artists such as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anthony McGill, Richard Stoltzman, Pamela Frank, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, all of whom subsequently became Prize recipients, Ursula Oppens, Demarre McGill, Augustin Hadelich, Yuja Wang and George Li, among dozens of others. While the Prize and Career Grants are primarily given to soloists, since 2004, consideration is also given to chamber ensembles.
Artists do not apply directly for these awards and have no idea they are even under consideration. A Recommendation Board, comprising conductors, instrumentalists, music educators, composers, managers, and presenters, nominates artists for the Career Grants. An Executive Committee makes final Career Grant selections and also chooses recipients for the Avery Fisher Prize. The Avery Fisher Artist Program is committed to all forms of diversity, with award recipients being chosen based on outstanding musical merit.
Avery Fisher Prize
The Avery Fisher Artist Program awards the Prize to solo instrumentalists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and excellence in music, with consideration, since 2004, also being given to chamber ensembles. There is no age limit, and recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. The Avery Fisher Wall in David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) at Lincoln Center commemorates all who have received the Prize, which currently carries a monetary award of $100,000.
Avery Fisher Career Grants
"Musicians of outstanding ability are such an important part of our culture. But they are like flowers that must bloom at a particular time. They have to be helped at the right moments…" — Avery Fisher
These Grants of $25,000 give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee believe have great potential for solo careers. Since 2004, consideration is also being given to chamber ensembles. Up to five Career Grants may be given each year. Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.
In addition to the Avery Fisher Prize and Avery Fisher Career Grants, from time to time the Program will present a Special Award to a musician who has contributed significantly to a broader understanding and love of music. In 1997, a Special Award was presented to Wynton Marsalis in recognition of his distinguished achievements.