The $100,000 prize is considered one of the world's major performing arts honors. The Jerome Robbins Foundation will present the award to him in December.
Wilson's groundbreaking musical works include the multi-national epic CIVIL warS, Deafman Glance, Einstein on the Beach and The Black Rider.
In addition to the monetary prize, a bronze statue representing one of the sailors from Robbins' dance piece Fancy Free, is given to the recipient.
Wilson first met Robbins in the 1960s. "Jerry had a tremendous influence on my work," said Wilson. "Therefore, this prize is especially meaningful."
He added, "We became friends and frequently went to the theatre, movies and had dinner. Jerry began to attend open houses that I had at my loft and saw my early works, The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud, Deafman Glance, The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin and A Letter for Queen Victoria. I also saw him in rehearsals and became particularly close when he made Watermill. We spent a summer together in Watermill, Long Island, and I watched him creating the dances." Wilson said the funds from the Jerome Robbins Award will go to furthering the work of the Watermill Center, as well as the relocation of its New York offices on 29th Street.
In 1995, Jerome Robbins wrote to the directors of his foundation, "I would like there to be established a prize to some really greatly outstanding person or art institution. The prizes should lean toward the arts of dance and its associative collaborators but not necessarily be defined by that surround."
In explanation, he cited many callings, from teachers and designers to choreographers and presenting organizations, enjoining the directors to award the prize only when warranted by the distinction of the person, organization or project.
Past recipients of the awards, each in the amount of $100,000, have included Jennifer Tipton, New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Twyla Tharp and San Francisco Ballet.
For more information on the Jerome Robbins Foundation, visit www.jeromerobbins.org.