In rememberance of the philosopher and art critic professor Theodor W. Adorno the city of Frankfurt awards the Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis on Adorno's birthday, September 11 (for the first time in 1977). The award of the Theodor-W. Adorno-Prize serves to further and acknowledge outstanding performances in the fields of philosophy, music, theatre and film.

Professor Theodor Adorno, philosopher and art critic, who taught for 20 years at Frankfurt's Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, and Max Horkheimer are seen as the founders of the celebrated Frankfurt School. As long-standing director of the Institute for Social Research, Adorno set decisive yardsticks for the critical assessment of the arts music, literature, theatre and film. His name is associated with the concept of the liberal and enlightening spirit that created decisive fundamentals for the new appraisal of aesthetic phenomena.

The Theodor-W. Adorno Prize has a value of € 50,000. The prize is awarded every three years.


1977 Norbert Elias (sociologist and philosopher)
1980 Jürgen Habermas (sociologist and philosopher)
1983 Günther Anders (writer)
1986 Michael Gielen (conductor and composer)
1989 Leo Löwenthal (literary scientist and sociologist)
1992 Pierre Boulez (conductor and composer)
1995 Jean-Luc Goddard (film director)
1998 Zygmunt Bauman (sociologist)
2001 Jacques Derrida (philosopher)
2003 György Ligeti (componist)
2006 Albrecht Wellmer (philosopher)
2009 Alexander Kluge (writer and film director)
2012 Judith Butler (philosopher)
2015 Georges Didi-Huberman (art historian)
2018 Margarethe von Trotta (film director)
2021 Klaus Theweleit, (writer and cultural theorist)
2024 Seyla Benhabib (philosopher)