"Ludwig Finscher is one of the foremost musicologists in the world and an outstanding expert in the field of music history after 1600" (International Balzan Foundation) Award endowed with 1 million Swiss francs
The International Balzan Foundation in Milan has announced that the Heidelberg musicologist Prof. Dr. Ludwig Finscher is to be awarded the Balzan Prize 2006. In the words of the appreciation published by the Foundation, Finscher, an emeritus professor of the University of Heidelberg, is "one of the foremost musicologists in the world." The prize is for his work on the history of music in the West since 1600. From 1977 to 1981 Finscher was president of the International Musicological Society. Finscher set international standards with the new edition of the encyclopaedia Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, of which he has been the editor since 1988.
Finscher and further award-winners from four research areas were selected by an awarding committee chaired by ambassador Sergio Romano. The committee was made up of 20 renowned European scientists and academics. The selection was made on the basis of numerous proposals from universities, academies and international cultural, scientific and scholarly institutions. Half of the prize money (1 million Swiss francs = 640,000 euros in each case) is earmarked for research projects by junior academics selected by the prize-winner.
"Ludwig Finscher is one of the foremost musicologists in the world and an outstanding expert on the history of music since 1600," said Gottried Scholz in his appreciation of Finscher's work on behalf of the International Balzan Foundation at the official announcement of the prize-winners for 2006.
Ludwig Finscher was born in Kassel in 1930 and studied at the University of Göttingen from 1949 to 1954. Here he obtained his doctorate with a dissertation on the Masses and Motets of Loyset Compère. In 1967 he was awarded a Habilitation at the University of Saarbrücken with a study of The Classical String Quartet and its Establishment by Joseph Haydn. Finscher was professor of music first in Frankfurt am Main, later at the University of Heidelberg up to his retirement.
His scholarly work focuses on four sectors from the period late Middle Ages to the 20th century. His extensive studies on the string quartet, chamber music and Joseph Haydn have attained the status of standard works, as has his two-volume edition of Music of the 15th and 16th Centuries. Over 130 articles in scholarly publications testify to the historical breadth of his research. His contributions to the complete editions of the works of Gluck and Mozart are as significant as his participation in the long-neglected edition of the compositions of Paul Hindemith. Among Finscher's most significant initiatives is the new edition of the 26-volume encyclopaedia Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, of which he is not only the general editor but also one of the central authors, with some 40 articles to his name. He is also co-editor of the Capellae Apostolicae Sixtinaeque Collectanea Acta Monumenta.
Gottfried Scholz: "All Finscher's work is of exceptional quality. He invariably goes back to the primary sources, subsequently commenting on the secondary literature. He is remarkable for his distinguished reticence, avoiding emotional public disputes and allowing the opinions of others their full justification. It is always the music itself that he places in the centre of his concerns, but he sees it as part of intellectual, cultural and social processes that he is able to outline with consummate clarity and with a high degree of empathy for past developments."
Scholz goes on to stress his comprehensible and terminologically convincing style, which has no truck with the habit of relativising statements by means of neologisms and vague formulations. As an example he refers to the essay On the Concept of the Classical in Music, calling it probably the best discussion on this complex term. "Finscher's renown in the international musicological world is reflected in the high offices he has held (former president of the International Musicological Society), in the invitations to membership of academies inside and outside Germany and in the award of the Ordre pour le mérite." (International Balzan Foundation)
The awards will be presented to their recipients by the Italian state president Giorgio Napolitano at a prize-giving ceremony on 24 November 2006 at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. Last year there was also a German scholar among the Balzan prize winners, the Heidelberg sinologist Lothar Ledderose.
The International Balzan Foundation has been in existence since 1961. It promotes culture ands the sciences all over the world, notably remarkable initiatives on behalf of peace and humanity. Every year, the Foundation awards four prizes for research, two for the humanities, social sciences and the arts and two for physics, mathematics, the natural sciences and medicine. The International Balzan Foundation has two headquarters, one in Milan concerned with the selection of the award recipients and one in Zurich managing the Eugenio Balzan bequest.
For more information go to
press contact for the Foundation:
phone: 030/820 824 29
press contact for the University of Heidelberg:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317