Emmanuel Pahud


The woodwind superstar, Swiss flautist Emmanuel Pahud received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2024 in Odense Concert Hall at a special tribute concert with Odense Symphony Orchestra and conducter Anu Tali.

The award was presented by HM Queen Mary of Denmark.

The Léonie Sonning Music Prize is Denmark’s largest music prize accompanying DKK 1,000,000. The Prize Concert with Odense Symphony Orchestra and conducter Anu Tali marked a special tribute to the flute echoing great works by Debussy, Nielsen, Gubaidulina and a new commission by Léonie Sonning Foundation to Bára Gísladóttir in an unheard alchemy of Solo, Chamber Music, Orchestral music and a “choir” of future Danish flautists celebrating Emmanuel Pahud and the art of fluteplaying.

Press here to listen to the prize concert.


The Léonie Sonning Music Foundation official motivation was given on stage by the chairman of the foundation, Esben Tange.

Courage, playfulness and professionalism are taken to a new level of unity in Emmanuel Pahud. With his ability to work as both an outstanding soloist and to be part of a collective – as a passionate chamber musician and as principal flute of the Berliner Philharmoniker – he is a complete artist and a master in his field.

With a playing style in which Classical ideals of beauty, elegance and virtuosity are combined with an enormous appetite for the creation and performance of new works with a modern expression, Emmanuel Pahud is pushing the boundaries of possibility in the world of wind instruments – to the delight of audiences and for the inspiration of younger generations of musicians.

Emmanuel Pahud is proud to receive the Léonie Sonning Music Prize upon announcement:

“What an overwhelming feeling to learn that you are the next recipient of the Leonie Sonning’s Music Prize! I will be looking forward to presenting fascinating creative programmes across Denmark around the award ceremony. This prestigious Music Prize will give me a new impulse to explore further horizons. It is with a lot of pride, but humbled and in awe at the achievements of past recipients, that I express my deepest gratitude to the Léonie Sonning Foundation,” says Emmanuel Pahud.


On the occasion of the award, the Danes have had great opportunity to experience Emmanuel Pahud on Danish soil. Earlier this year, he performed at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen with Athelas Sinfonietta, and following the magnificent prize concert at Odense Concert Hall on the 30th of May, Emmanuel Pahud and his art will be presented to a larger audience in Denmark; At Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, The Royal Danish Academy of Music and Aarhus Concert Hall.
See program below.

Pahud captures unique flute articulations in Copenhagen

Since he was a child, Emmanuel Pahud has known and played Carl Nielsen’s music for flute, so he was thrilled with the idea of recording the two small chamber pieces and flute articulations “The Fog is Lifting” and “The Children are Playing” in contemporary Danish settings in honor of receiving the Léonie Sonning Music Prize.


Emmanuel Pahud was born in 1970 in Geneva and travelling and moving have been a big part of Pahud’s life since childhood. Pahud’s first encounter with a flute was at the age of four when he heard his neighbour playing Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 while the family was living in Rome. At the age of six, Pahud started playing the flute himself, and things took off from there. In 1990, Pahud graduated with first place (Premier Prix) from the Paris Conservatoire and went on to study with Swiss flautist Aurèle Nicolet. Since then, he has developed into one of the world’s most honoured flautists and is now the recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Denmark’s most important music award.

The Léonie Sonning Music Prize has been awarded since 1959, with influential composer Igor Stravinsky being the first recipient. Scottish solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie received the prize in 2023, which comes with DKK 1,000,000.


Emmanuel Pahud, who currently lives in Berlin, has often visited Denmark. After his debut with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in 1999 in Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1, he gave several concerts in Denmark until 2006, both as a soloist with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, as a chamber musician and as a soloist. Since 2005, Emmanuel Pahud has performed regularly at the art museum Louisiana together with pianist Éric le Sage and the ensemble Les Vents Francais, and his most recent visit to Louisiana took place in 2022.

In 2021, Emmanuel Pahud also visited Denmark in the company of the Berliner Philharmoniker at a highly acclaimed concert at Musikhuset in Aarhus.


Thursday 30th May at 7:30 p.m.
Odense Concert Hall

Foyer, in the square in front of the Concert Hall and in the Concert Hall. Intrada and procession.

Bára Gísladóttir: Ms Ephemeris Abyss (2022-23) for seven alto flutes. Arranged for large flute choir First Performance (15′)

Viibra Flute Ensemble and students from the Danish music conservatoires and others.

In the concert hall
Bára Gísladóttir: Solo for flute (8′) First performance.
Claude Debussy: Syrinx Solo (4)
Claude Debussy: Prélude a l’aprés-midi d’un Faune (11′)
Carl Nielsen: Helios Ouverture (1903) (7′)
Carl Nielsen: Concerto for flute and orchestra (1926) (19′)


Claude Debussy: Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1915) (17′)
Sofia Gubaidulina: Music for flute, strings and percussion (1994) (33′)
Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Rafaell Altino, viola (Debussy Sonata)
Zachery Hatcher, harp (Debussy Sonata)
Odense Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Anu Tali

Other concerts

Sunday 10 March at 4:00 p.m.
Black Diamond, Royal Danish Library
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen

Pierre Boulez: Memoriale flute, strings, two horns (1985/1993) (7′)
Frank Martin: Ballade flute, strings and piano (1939/1941) (7′)
Elliott Carter: Flute Concerto (2008) (14′)
Michael Jarrell: Flute Concerto Un temps de silence (2007/2018) (25′)
Works for Sinfonietta. TBA
Conductor: Anu Tali

Friday 31 May at 8:00 p.m.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

CPE Bach: Solo Sonata in A minor Wq.132 (1747) (11’)
Eric Montalbetti: Memento Emmanuaile (2020) (6′)
André Jolivet: 5 Incantations (22′)
JS Bach: Solo Partita A-minor BWV1013 (15′)
Philippe Manoury Soubresauts (2020) (7’30)

Saturday 1 June 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The Royal Danish Academy of Music, The Studio Hall

Masterclass in six disciplines

  • Baroque
  • Mozart Concerts
  • Orchestra solo
  • Flute concertos/sonatas
  • New music for flute
  • Chamber music. Mozart Quartet or Debussy Trio

Artist talk. Q and A.
Aspects of life as a modern flautist

Sunday 2 June 07:30 p.m.
Aarhus Concert Hall. Aarhus Music Association

Tōru Takemitsu: Voice (1971)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Fantasia No. 1 in A TWV 40:2 (1733)
Matthias Pintscher: Beyond (A System of Passing) (2013)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Fantasia No. 10 in F sharp minor TWV 40:11 (1733)
Jörg Widmann: Petite suite (in memoriam Aurèle Nicolet) (2016)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Fantasia No. 5 in C TWV 40:6 (1733)
Alexandre Desplat: Airlines (2020)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Fantasia No. 6 in D minor TWV 40:7 (1733)
Michael Jarrell: Le point est la source de tout (Epitome II) (2020)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Fantasia No. 7 in D TWV 40:8 (1733)
Edgard Varèse: Density 21.5 (1936)

Video production

Carl Nielsen: The fog is lifting og The Children are Playing fra The Mother op. 41
Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Zachary Hatcher, harpe

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