The Master Jury of the Aga Khan Music Awards has announced laureates and finalists for the Awards’ inaugural cycle. The Music Awards were established by His Highness the Aga Khan to recognise exceptional creativity, promise, and enterprise in music performance, creation, education, preservation and revitalisation in societies across the world in which Muslims have a significant presence. Laureates are to share a USD $500,000 prize fund, and will also collaborate with the Music Awards to expand the impact of their work and develop their careers.
A three-day celebration of the Awards will be hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal from 29-31 March. Finalists for the Award in Performance will perform for a live audience, including the Master Jury, following which the laureate in Performance will be announced on the evening of 30 March.
In addition to Performance, award domains include music Creation; Education; Preservation, Revitalisation and Dissemination; Social Inclusion, and Distinguished and Enduring Contributions to Music. A special Patron’s Award will also be conferred.
The 9 laureates and 14 finalists come from 13 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America and represent diverse forms of professional achievement:
A special Patron’s Award is to be conferred on Mohammad Reza Shajarian in recognition of his enduring contribution to the musical heritage of humanity, his peerless musical mastery, and his sustained social impact as a performer and teacher, both within Iran and beyond its borders.
Finalists for the Award in Performance are:
Full biographies of laureates and finalists are available in the AKMA Brochure.
The Aga Khan Music Awards Master Jury includes:
Full biographies of Master Jury members are available in the AKMA brochure
To ensure impartiality in the Awards nomination and selection process, individuals and projects affiliated with His Highness the Aga Khan, the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network, or members of the Awards Steering Committee, Secretariat, and Master Jury, were deemed ineligible for consideration.
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Background on the Aga Khan Music Awards
The Aga Khan Music Awards emerged from the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI), an interregional music and arts education programme with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring and artistic production activities. Launched to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms, the Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
The Initiative promotes the revitalisation of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints. Its projects have included publication of a comprehensive textbook, The Music of Central Asia (Indiana University Press, 2016), a 10-volume CD-DVD anthology, Music of Central Asia, co-produced with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a worldwide performance and outreach program that nurtures “East-East” as well as “East-West” musical collaborations, and a network of music schools and centres that develop innovative music curricula and curriculum materials in the Music Initiative’s regions of activity. (http://akdn.org/akmi).
Aga Khan Music Awards Secretariat and Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) management
Fairouz Nishanova, Director
Theodore Levin, Senior Consultant