Composer Aaron Jay Kernis Composer Aaron Jay Kernis is one of the youngest composers to win the Pulitzer Prize. This Saturday, his latest composition will be performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra as part of the grand opening of the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia's new concert hall. The piece was commissioned specifically for the event. The Walt Disney Company has commissioned a piece by Kernis. His many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts award, and two Grammy nominations. Kernis was born in Philadelphia and is 41 years old.