Massive Warner Music Prize Will Help One Promising Classical Musician Pay the Bills (And Then Some)

We tend to romanticize classical musical prodigies, and rightfully so. More often than not, these musicians appear out of the blue, without training or an obvious genetic or biological link to highly musical parents. Ever since the days of Mozart, these prodigies have captured our collective imagination.

But let's put aside the semantics of terms like "prodigy" for a moment. Young classical musicians, whether 12 or 25, need to navigate an incredibly competitive professional landscape. They need to pay off loans. They need to pay their rent. In other words, the world of professional classical music is steeped in the more mundane aspects of commercialism, recording contracts, lawyers, and mountains of paperwork. It can be extremely daunting for an 18 year old violist who simply wants to perform.

Enter the Warner Music Group who has created the Warner Music Prize in association with the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The prize features a cash windfall of $100,000 given to a "classical musician aged 18-35 who demonstrates exceptional talent and promise, regardless of any label affiliation." This award represents an intriguing foray into the world of the arts by the foundation, which is mostly known for its Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists.

In its inaugural year, the group will present the award in partnership with Carnegie Hall, which will feature the nominees across its 2014-2015 concert season. These performances can also be characterized as auditions, as they'll be judged by a jury of "renowned classical musicians and industry leaders." Warner will announce the winner in the spring of 2015.

The winner, who will also be offered a recording contract with Warner Classics, will be showcased at Carnegie's Zankel Hall as part of the Warner Music Prize Gala on October 27, 2015. The event will also double as a fundraiser. You can check out the 16 young artists under consideration here.

We couldn't help but notice the sheer amount of pressure that comes with vying for this award. Sixteen nominees get one performance each with the winner, netting a $100,000 (!) prize. The stakes are enormous. Surely that's enough cash to pay off loans, set aside a nest egg, and pay off the lawyers for at least a few years.

That said, we couldn't help but wonder if that $100,000 could have been split up 10 ways rather than awarded in one massive check.

Then again, it isn't our money.