2020-06-05 – 15:00 h

Composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams have been granted the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts 2020, as it has been announced by the jury in charge of its concession, today, June 5.


Granted every year in Spain, the Princess of Asturias Awards are intended, according to the Statutes of the Foundation, to award “the scientific, technical, cultural, social, and humanitarian work carried out by people, institutions, groups of people or institutions in the international arena”. In accordance with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts is awarded to “the work of cultivation and improvement of cinematography, theater, dance, music, photography, painting, sculpture, architecture, and other artistic manifestations”.


In this edition, a total of 42 nominations from 21 countries competed for the Arts award, being the winning nomination of Morricone and Williams, proposed by Juan Barja de Quiroga Losada, member of the jury of the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 2020.


Endowed with unmistakable character, their works include some of the most iconic musical compositions of the silver screen, which now form part of the collective imaginary. Williams and Morricone show absolute mastery of both composition and narrative, combining emotion, tension, and lyricism at the service of cinematographic images. Their creations even go so far as to transform and transcend these images, sustaining themselves as magnificent symphonic works that are among the standard repertoire of major orchestras. All this makes them two of the most revered living composers worldwide.


Statement by Ennio Morricone on being bestowed with the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts:

“I have chosen to write music as a form of communication. In fact, music without anybody listening to it does not make any sense. I have striven my whole life to improve, never to stand still, never to take a seat and look back on everything I have done. I am 92 years old and I see that the Spanish Royal Family and the Princess of Asturias Foundation wish to distinguish me with this prestigious Award. Today is a day for reflection, for thinking about the path already trodden, for humbly and gratefully feeling that, perhaps in the course of my work, I have been able to reach people and share with them the unique experience that is music. That is what the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts means to me.


John Williams and I have travelled parallel paths in our careers, sharing the same love and commitment to music and to music in film. Writing music also means experiencing profound solitude and concentration. I feel that John and I share the same ethic and constant dedication that makes us not only colleagues, but also brothers.


Finally, I wish to dedicate this award to my wife Maria, who has always been at my side. Without her, I would not have had the tranquility to devote myself to music on this long journey that I have been on. I wish to express my gratitude once more to the Royal Family. I will be happy and honoured to meet them on 16th October.”


Ennio Morricone

Rome, 5th June 2020


Statement by John Williams on being bestowed with the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts:

“I wish to express my very great honor in being chosen to receive the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts. It has been a privilege to be able to devote my professional life to the art and craft of music composition, and to know that my music has reached so many through the medium of film is rewarding beyond any expectation. I also am pleased to share this award with my colleague, Maestro Morricone, for whom I have always had the greatest respect and admiration.


Particularly now, during these challenging times, when so many of our fellow world citizens are experiencing the effects of a global pandemic, music of all genres has the ability to bring us closer together, to bridge distances, provide comfort and ease suffering while inspiring unity and common purpose. I am grateful to the Princess of Asturias Foundation for their recognition of the essential importance of music and the arts in all our lives.”


John Williams

Los Angeles, 5th June 2020


This has been the second of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be granted this year, celebrating their 40th edition. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for Concord was awarded to Spanish doctors who work on the front line against COVID-19. In the next few days, the following awards will be unveiled (in order): Communication and Humanities, Social Sciences, Sports, Literature, Technical and Scientific Research, and International Cooperation.


Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards is endowed with a sculpture by Joan Miró -a representative symbol of the award- a diploma, a badge, and the cash amount of 50.000 euros.


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