Avery Fisher Artist Program Overview

Wise, elegant, gentle, and caring. His lifelong philsophy 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, 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. Murray Perahia and Lynn Harrell were awarded The Avery Fisher Prize in 1975 and subsequent recipients comprise an honor roll of American musicians: Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, André Watts, Garrick Ohlsson, Emerson String Quartet, and many more. The Avery Fisher Career Grants began in 1976, and have been received early in their careers by artists such as Ursula Oppens, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Richard Stoltzman, Pamela Frank, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, and dozens of others. While the Prize and Career Grants are primarily given to soloists, since 2004, consideration is also being given to chamber ensembles.

Artists do not apply directly for these awards and have no idea they are even under consideration. A Recommendation Board, comprised of 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.