Evelyn Glennie

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The British Solo Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie will receive The Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2023 of 1,000,000 Danish kroner at a special tribute concert in DR Koncerthuset on the 15th of June 2023.

Evelyn Glennie is the first percussionist to receive The Léonie Sonning Music Prize. 


Esben Tange, Chairman of the Board of the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation, explains the choice of Evelyn Glennie as this year’s recipient. 

Evelyn Glennie is a pioneer. Since her breakthrough in the 1980’s, she has been the first to establish a full-time career as a solo percussionist. With her more than 200 specially commissioned pieces and eclectic collaborations with a wide variety of musicians and contemporary composers from Scotland’s James MacMillan to Iceland’s Björk, she completely transcends boundaries. Through her development of extreme bodily awareness, this has enabled Evelyn Glennie to perform as a professional musician at the highest level – despite losing her hearing from the age of 8. She has gone on to broaden the understanding of music and how we listen to music.” 


At the award concert on the 15th of June 2023, Glennie will perform as a soloist in the company of the DR Symphony Orchestra, where they will perform among others James MacMillan’s iconic Veni, Veni Emmanuel for percussion and orchestra. The evening also offers a very special tribute to the recipient, when 35 professional and student percussionists from across Denmark pay tribute to the award winner with a specially commissioned piece in DR Koncerthuset. The day after the award concert, Evelyn Glennie will give an artist talk and a masterclass at the Royal Danish Conservatorium. 

Award Concert – 15. June
DR Koncerthuset

Evelyn Glennie Tribute
Opening concert in the foyer and the square in front of DR Koncerthuset
18.45 – 19.15

Composer Søren Monrad has created a mega percussion work for performance inside and outside the DR Koncerthuset Foyer. With a total of 35 percussion students from the Danish music conservatories and with Morten Friis as soloist, the focus is on the diverse sound possibilities and forms of expression of percussion. The inspiration for the work comes from three of the messages that Evelyn Glennie has pioneered for decades: ‘Make the world listen’, ‘Feel the music’ and ‘Hear the silence’. 

The Concert Overture is produced in collaboration with DR Musikariet. 

In DR Koncerthuset 19.30 

James MacMillan: Veni, Veni Emmanuel Concert for percussion and orchestra (1991-92) (25′) 

    • Introit – Advent 
    • Heartbeat 
    • Dance – Hocket 
    • Conduct: Sequence I 
    • Gaude, Gaude 
    • Transition: Sequence II 
    • Coda – Easter 

Michael Daugherty: Dreamachine for solo percussion and orchestra (2014) (35′) 

– Da Vinci’s Wings. Marimba.
– Rube Goldbergs Variationer. Small handheld instruments.
– Electric Eel. Vibraphone.
– Vulcans smedje. snare drum 

Award Ceremony
Áskell Másson: Concert piece for small drums and orchestra (10′) 

DR Symfoniorkestret Dirigent: Geoffrey Paterson 

Tickets can be purchased here

June 16
The Royal Danish Music Conservatorium 

Artist talk. 11.00-12.00 

Moderator Uffe Savery – Talk and questions from audience. Free access. 

Masterclass 12.30-14.30 

Students from the Danish music conservatorium. Free access. 


In February, this year’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize winner visited Denmark for the first time this year for what turned out to be a terrific weekend with the Scottish percussionist.

This happened in connection with several events in the greater Copenhagen area, where the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation, in collaboration with several cultural partners, focused on music that cannot be heard. Thus, the curious Danish audience had the opportunity to experience Glennie give an insight into her impressive career and its framework. She has managed to create a magnificent career despite having been deaf since the age of 8.

Over two days, Evelyn Glennie could be experienced in DR Koncerthuset’s Studio 2, where Léonie Sonning’s Music Foundation, in connection with OperaNord’s music performance ‘For Deaf Ears’, invited to an ‘artist talk’. Here, the audience got close to Evelyn Glennie, both as a musician and a human being, while she also performed musical examples along the way.

Music communicator and radio host Benedikte Granvig hosted the event.

Cinemateket was the setting for screening the award-winning documentary Touch the Sound, which is about Glennie and her encounter with the British multi-instrumentalist and improviser Fred Firth. Glennie introduced the film before the audience was taken into the story from 2004, which won a BAFTA Award for Best Documentary after its release.

Young percussion students from the western part of Copenhagen also had a unique opportunity to be inspired by Glennie. It happened when Glennie gave a masterclass and met the young, committed percussion students in the room named after herself, Evelyn Glennie Percussion Room, in the newly built Kulturskolerne Høje-Taastrup. Glennie expressed during and afterwards that she was delighted to meet the young musicians and that this particular visit meant something special to her.

The early visit to Denmark ended with a roundtable discussion under the heading ‘music and deafness’ at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Here, the focus was on how deafness is often mistakenly perceived as a state of total silence. In addition to Glennie, Jessica Holmes from the University of Copenhagen, the participants in the conversation were singer and author Lotte Rømer and neuroscientist at Aarhus University Peter Keller.


Evelyn Glennie’s history with Denmark dates back many years and she has previously been praised for her performances in Denmark. 

In November 1995, Evelyn Glennie had a concert with the pianist Philip Smith at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. During that occasion, Jens Brincker in Berlingske Tidende wrote “The British Evelyn Glennie is a phenomenon… with bare feet solidly planted on the ground like antennas, she stood in the concert hall of Louisiana and could sense the vibrations from the marimba in her body. She transformed this into rhematic tensions and impulses…rarely do you experience modern compositional music played with such a physical presence and charisma.” 

Evelyn Glennie was one of the first percussionists that made use of the Danish developed percussion instrument the Aluphone and used it during her performance for the opening of the Olympics in London 2012. In January 2014, Evelyn Glennie premiered Anders Koppels Concerto for Aluphone (doubling Marimba) and Orchestra during two sold-out concerts with Odense Symphony Orchestra. There is now a model specifically called the Glennie Concert Aluphone. 

In addition to several concertos by Anders Koppel, Evelyn Glennie has also been a soloist in percussion concertos by Per Nørgård and Poul Ruders. 

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