He will donate the €10,000 prize money to Wigmore Hall and the Royal Philharmonic Society.
The annual award goes to individuals deemed to have made substantial and lasting contributions to classical music education and is donated by HeidelbergCement, the founding partner of the Festival and its main sponsor since 1997.
Prior winners include composer and clarinettist Jörg Widmann, music journalist Eleanore Büning, pianist and cultural manager Markus Hinterhäuser, baritone Christian Gerhaher and pianist Gabriela Montero.
It will be presented to John Gilhooly on April 7 next year during the 2019 Festival (16 March – 14 April).
Announcing the award, the Festival said of Gilhooly: “(He) became the youngest director of an internationally acclaimed concert hall at age 35 with his appointment at Wigmore Hall.
“Since then he has developed the Hall into one of the world’s premier venues for chamber music, vocal music and music education.
“Today, a performance in the Temple of Chamber Music has become an indispensable addition to the biographies of young musicians.
“Thanks to John’s intelligent and ambitious programming, alongside his innovative musical education initiatives, Wigmore Hall has opened its doors to wider and more diverse audiences.
“He has created a space in which the core audience meets the tentative first listener – classical newcomers of today are becoming tomorrow’s classical music connoisseurs.
“John Gilhooly has managed to create coherence through this juxtaposition; an inspirational musical home for artists and audiences alike.
“This achievement, alongside his tireless dedication (particularly to art song and string quartets), makes John the perfect candidate for the award, aligning him the social mission of connection and commitment that exemplifies the Heidelberger Frühling. For his outstanding achievements, John Gilhooly is awarded the Heidelberger Frühling Music Award.”
Speaking of his success, Gilhooly said: “I have long admired International Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling as an outstanding example of an innovative festival and series.
“I am honoured to receive the Award and have donated the monetary gift which comes with it to Wigmore Hall and the Royal Philharmonic Society, in recognition of all of the wonderful people associated with these two musical institutions. I look forward to returning to Heidelberg on many occasions in 2019.”