The Critics’ Circle also announced three awards for exceptional young talent, which this year go to conductor Nicholas Collon, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and bass Matthew Rose.
Knussen, who celebrates his 60th birthday this month, wrote his first symphony when he was 15 and also works as a teacher and conductor. He will be presented with his award at a concert he’s conducting at the Aldeburgh Festival – where he’s artist-in-residence – on 9 June.
In a statement, the Critics’ Circle said ‘Oliver Knussen is not just a superb composer, but also an inspiring champion of the music of our time. Uncompromising, indefatigable, self-effacing and utterly generous, he has been a beacon and mentor for an entire generation of composers.’
The Critics’ Circle Awards are decided by the 76 members of the music section of the Critics’ Circle and take into account an artist’s contribution to music in the UK in the previous year.
Photo: Maurice Foxall