Initiated in 1987 by Roswitha Sperber to recognise the work of women composers, the prize has been awarded by the City of Heidelberg and hosted by the Heidelberg Theater and Orchestra since 2007. Past winners include Olga Neuwirth, Kaija Saariaho, Isabel Mundry, Chaya Czernowin and Zeynep Gedizlioğlu.
Mendoza was born in Sevilla in 1973 and studied piano and composition in Zaragoza with Teresa Catalán, in Augsburg with John Van Buren, in Düsseldorf with Manfred Trojahn, and in Berlin with Hanns Peter Kyburz at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. With a particular interest in theatrical concepts touching on language, space and music, Mendoza's music often explores dramaturgy and the timbral possibilities of sound.
The Heidelberger Künstlerinnenpreis 2019 adds to Mendoza’s numerous awards, including the Fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude (2008), the Spanish Premio Nacional de Música 2010, Musikpreis Salzburg 2011 (Förderungspreis), and the Kunstpreis Berlin 2017.