Click here for the English press release regarding Martin Fröst
Denmark’s Premier Music Award
Since its inception in 1959, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize has established itself as a paramount event in Danish music life. The prize is awarded annually to an internationally acknowledged composer, musician, conductor or singer. The selection of this person is always a subject of intense discussion; for there are neither years nor Sonning Music Prizes enough for all those who might deserve them.
In selecting a prize winner, the Sonning directors take several factors into consideration: First, that the candidate ranks among the best in his or her field and is likely to remain so in the future. Some relationship with Denmark is an advantage, though not a necessity. The board of directors also takes the balance among composers, conductors and performers into consideration.
The Foundation has often arranged and supported performances by prize winners, or of their music, in addition to the prize presentation concert, and has in other ways extended the presentation-related activities, such as by publishing books, arranging seminars and workshops. Prize winners are always asked to participate in a Master Class or a similar arrangement of importance to young Danish musicians. While such events are often held, unfortunately some winners cannot fit this into their schedules.
At the prize concert, the Foundation’s reason for the choice is announced, and the winner is tendered a diploma bearing the explanation, in Danish. The diploma is accompanied by a monotype by the Danish painter Maja Lisa Engelhardt. In 2002, the Foundation acquired 12 monotypes by this artist as illustrations for Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen’s book, »Ridderen fra Danmark« (The Knight of Denmark, Rhodos Publishers).
The Léonie Sonning Music Prize is not Europe’s largest music award, but measured by the artists who have received this prize, it has assumed major world importance over the years. For many recipients, the honour overshadows the monetary award, since it conveys the same status enjoyed by many other great Sonning Prize winners of the past.