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. 

Visits Denmark in February

Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2023 – Evelyn Glennie
For Deaf Ears + Evelyn Glennie Artist talk
18. and 19. February 12.00-14.30 and 13.30-16.00
DR Koncerthuset

Is it possible to feel the vibrations of the music with the body without using the sense of hearing?

An afternoon in DR Koncerthuset all about what it is to hear and listen – partly through the musical performance For Deaf Ears and partly through a meeting with this year’s Sonning Music Prize award winner Evelyn Glennie, who, despite lack in hearing, has advanced to become one of the world’s leading percussionists.

For Deaf Ears – a musical performance by OperaNord

The musical performance For Deaf Ears by OperaNord and Louise Beck takes into the resonant space of your body, where you not only listen and feel the music that meets you but also sense the world around you, from which you are severed.

The audience is equipped with wireless headphones, and during the performance, the perception of the sound is manipulated so that you, for instance, are cut off from parts of the sound frequencies of the piece or experience some of the unique overtones, which often is felt by hearing-impaired regarding high tones.

The music for For Deaf Ears is created by the soprano Katinka Fogh Vindeliv in corporation with the 16 years old deaf born girl Lova Heick, and the 70-year-old rock singer Lotte Rømer, who – despite her hearing loss and tinnitus – still sings cleanly, thanks to hearing muscular memory.

Artist talk with Evelyn Gleenie – receiver of the Léonie Sonning’s Music Prize 2023

In continuation of For Deaf Ears, the Léonie Sonning’s Music Foundation invites to an exclusive ‘artist talk’ in Studio 2, where you can get close to percussionist phenomena Evelyn Glennie, both as a musician and as a human being.

Evelyn Glennie has, in all ways, broken the boundaries of what we traditionally understand in a musician. Her ability to feel the music without the ability to hear it and to express herself on every percussion instrument is magical to all who experience her. Despite her lack of hearing, she has advanced into one of the world’s leading percussionists, and later this year, she will receive the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2023 at a big prize concert in DR Koncerthuset.

The host at the event is radio host and music presenter Benedikte Granvig, and Evelyn Glennie will perform musicale examples during the event.

Find your tickets here

Touch the Sound
18 February 16.30

Touch the Sound (2004) (99’)

Introduction: Evelyn Glennie

This is what it feels like to be a musician with hearing loss. That’s the focus of the 2004 documentary Touch the Sound, about this year’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize winner Evelyn Glennie and her encounter with British multi-instrumentalist and improviser Fred Frith. The film was directed by German Thomas Riedelsheimer.

In addition to the musical encounter between Evelyn Glennie and Fred Frith, the film explores Glennie’s career and her impressive journey to becoming one of the world’s leading percussionists. In the documentary, Riedelsheimer outlines a world of senses, transcendent images and evocative sounds, following Evelyn and her remarkable story through California, New York, England, and her native Scotland.

The film achieved wide acclaim upon its release and won several awards, including a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Documentary’ in Evelyn’s native Scotland.

Link to trailer

Expert Listening: Music and Deafness
19 February 16.30
Institut for Kunst- og Kulturvidenskab (IKK)
Karen Blixens Vej 1
Building 21, ground floor, Multisalen 54
A Roundtable Discussion

Too often, deafness is mistakenly construed as a state of total silence, such that deaf people are believed to have no conception of sound, let alone music. Yet, there are multiple examples that tell us otherwise, from composer Ludwig van Beethoven to world-leading solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who champions a holistic, multi-sensory conception of music through her practice of listening through touch.


In this roundtable discussion, host and musicologist Dr. Jessica Holmes sits down with 2023 Sonning Prize winner Dame Evelyn Glennie, along with singer, author, and Chair of the Copenhagen branch of the Danish Association of the Hard-of-Hearing Lotte Rømer, and neuroscientist Dr. Peter Keller from Aarhus University’s Center for Music in the Brain to explore the multi-sensory dynamics of deaf musical experience from diverse socio-cultural and scientific perspectives, combating some of the stereotypes associated with hearing loss and music in the process.

At the event, there will be provided real-time captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Furthermore, the roundtable discussion will be followed by an informal wine and cheese reception.

Evelyn Glennie meets young percussionists in Copenhagen’s Western district – Vestegnen
During her stay in Denmark, Evelyn Glennie meets percussion students in the Evelyn Glennie Percussion Room in the newly built Kulturskolerne Høje-Taastrup.


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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