Prix Florent Schmitt: Listing of Prizewinning Composers and Recordings: 1963-2020

Florent Schmitt Medal Weysset Paris

This commemorative medal of Florent Schmitt was created by Weysset and issued by the Monnaie de Paris.

Due to French composer Florent Schmitt’s celebrity status as a composer and a noted music critic during his lifetime, it should come as little surprise that his legacy would live on following his death in the form of music prizes issued in his name.

Academie du disque francaisAnd in fact, two Florent Schmitt prizes would be established. The first of these was run by the Académie du Disque Français, an organization which had been founded in 1951 by Colette, Maurice Yvain, Jean Fayard and the poet Guy-Charles Cros, son of Émile-Hortensius-Charles Cros, the co-inventor (with Edison) of the phonograph.  Its founding president was Arthur Honegger.

The Academie established the Prix Florent Schmitt several years following the composer’s death in 1958 to honor new recordings of particular note.  The Florent Schmitt Prize stood alongside a number of other prestigious awards given by the Académie, including:

  • Prix du Président de la Republique – for recordings of French music
  • Prix de la Ville de Paris – for exceptional recording production
  • Prix des Arts et Lettres – for releases of previously unrecorded music
  • Prix du Conservatoire – for recordings of chamber music
  • Prix de l’Institut de Musicologie – for recordings of organ and harpsichord music
  • Prix des Universités – for recordings of piano music
  • Prix Arthur Honegger – for recordings of sacred music
  • Prix Jacques Rouché – for vocal and operatic recordings
  • Prix Colette – for French spoken-word recordings
  • Prix Frances Carco – for recordings of jazz music
Florent Schmitt postage stamp France 1992 printing plate

A test print from the plate used to produce the 1992 French postage stamp commemorating the artistry of Florent Schmitt, signed by the engraver, André Lavergne. Among the other composers commemorated in the series were Georges Auric, César Franck, Arthur Honegger, Erik Satie and Germaine Tailleferre.

During the 1960s and 1970s the Prix Florent Schmitt would be awarded to recordings falling into several categories, including foreign recordings of French music as well as recordings of contemporary music. Among the releases that were so honored include:

  • 1963 – Olivier Messiaen compositions
  • 1968 – Gabriel Fauré: Quartet #1 for Strings (featuring soloists Emil Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Rudolf Barshai and Mistislav Rostropovich) + Satie: Parade (featuring Manuel Rosenthal conducting the Orchestre National de l’ORTF)
  • 1969 – Marcel Landowski: Symphonies #1 and #3 (featuring Charles Bruck conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de l’ORTF)
  • 1971 – Charles Chaynes: Concordances + Jacques Charpentier: Pour le Kama-Soutra (featuring Vincent Gemignani directing the Paris Percussion Ensemble)
  • 1972 – Claude Debussy: Piano Music (featuring pianist Monique Haas) + Maurice Ravel: Piano Music (featuring pianist Jacques Février)
Academie des beaux arts Paris

The Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The Académie du Disque Français began to wind down its activities during the 1970s, eventually ceasing operations completely in the 1980s.  But beginning in the mid-1970s a new Florent Schmitt Prize was established that has continued up to the present day.  This one is adjudicated by the Académie des Beaux-Arts (part of the Institut de France) and is awarded in honor of notable living French composers.

Academie des beaux arts logoThis Prix Florent Schmitt has been awarded on a recurring basis, and in recent years it has been awarded every two years to a composer who is under 40 years of age. Among the distinguished prizewinners during the past half-century are the following composers:

N.B. Additions or corrections to the listings above are welcomed.