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.
And 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
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 included:
- 1963 – Olivier Messiaen compositions
- 1968 – Gabriel Fauré: Quartet #1 for Strings (featuring soloists Emil Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Rudolf Barshai and Mistislav Rostropovich)
- 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)
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.
- 1975 – Claude Ballif
- 1978(?) – Pierre Ancelin
- 1985 – Yoshihisha Taïra
- 1991 – Roger Tessier
- 1993 – Jean-Jacques Werner
- 1997 – Yves Prin
- 1999 – Daniel Roth
- 2001 – Stéphane Delplace
- 2005 – Martin Matalon
- 2009 – Gualtiero Dazzi
- 2016 – Frédéric Durieux
- 2018 – Philippe Schoeller
N.B. Additions or corrections to the listings above are welcomed.