About the foundation
The foundation was established in 1965 by Léonie Sonning (née Rothberg, 1894-1970), the widow of editor Carl Johan Sonning. As early as 1959, however, before the foundation had officially been established, a music prize had been awarded to the composer Igor Stravinsky. The composer Knudåge Riisager handed over the prize at a concert given by The Royal Danish Orchestra at Tivolis Koncertsal, where Stravinsky conducted his own works.
Where does the money come from?
The foundation’s assets originally derived from the income from three properties that belong to Léonie Sonning. The executive committee of the foundation has administered these assets since it was first set up, and the present-day economic basis of the foundation is the income from five residential properties in and around Copenhagen.
The music prize and the talent prizes
The charter of the foundation sets out its aim: Each year a mark of distinction is to be awarded to an internationally recognised composer, musician, conductor or singer. This prize amounts at present to €100,000. In addition, the foundation awards talent prizes in order to further the artistic development of young composers, conductors, musicians or singers from Denmark and the other Nordic counties. The prizes cannot be applied for.