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Nijinsky Prize for John Neumeier

One of the most important prizes in the ballet world, the Prix Nijinsky, was awarded to the Hamburg Ballet Director John Neumeier in Monte Carlo in December 2006.

Neumeier has choreographed numerous works from the Sikorski catalogues and enjoyed close contact with composers of the publishing house such as Alfred Schnittke and Lera Auerbach. He once confessed that the legendary collaboration between Mikhail Fokine and Igor Stravinsky made him downright envious. The anecdote, attributed to Stravinsky himself, that they crawled along under the piano gesticulating wildly during the collaboration, and in so doing hit upon the best ideas, was especially in his mind when he wrote the following about the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke: I have always dreamed of such a collaboration. Later, when I worked on the ballet Peer Gynt with you, Alfred, this dream came true for me although I didnt have to crawl under the piano!

Neumeier has repeatedly stated how strongly Schnittkes music inspired him to create choreographic images. Schnittke, for his part, designated the choreographies of Neumeier as something completely original, something that in its multi-layered quality hadnt before existed. And he asked Neumeier to be allowed to dedicate the score of Peer Gynt to him if it corresponds in some way to the meaning of what you have created.

Peer Gynt was the first ballet that Neumeier designed in direct collaboration with Schnittke.

In his latest collaboration with the Russian composer Lera Auerbach, Neumeier senses a reminiscence of the artistically so fruitful relationship to Alfred Schnittke. He created a scenic ballet to her 24 Preludes for Violoncello and Piano and 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano in 2003. Neumeier says that he became completely involved in the music whilst choreographing it. With the 17 solo roles that appear in abstract dance formations, his ballet Prludes CV occupies a special place: I believe there has never before in history been a ballet with so many solo parts. The second collaboration with Lera Auerbach was the celebrated work commissioned by the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. Auerbach composed the full-length ballet music The Little Mermaid for Neumeier, which was premiered on 15 April 2005 with great success.