Léonie Sonning Music Prize

Léonie Sonning Music Prize
Awarded for"internationally recognised composer, musician, conductor or singer"
Sponsored byThe Léonie Sonning Music Foundation
First awarded1959

The Léonie Sonning Music Prize, or Sonning Award, which is recognized as Denmark's highest musical honor, is given annually to an international composer or musician. It was first awarded in 1959 to composer Igor Stravinsky. Laureates are now selected by the directors of The Léonie Sonning Music Foundation, which was founded in 1965.

The diploma is in Danish, and the prize includes EUR 133,000 (US$ 146,400) and a monotype by the Danish painter Maja Lisa Engelhardt. Honorees are treated to a concert, typically held in Copenhagen, and are often invited to teach a master class of Danish musicians.

The award is not directly related to the Sonning Prize, which is the Danish award presented by a foundation in memory of Sonning's late husband, Carl Johan Sonning [da].


Year Laureate Country Notes
1959 Igor Stravinsky  Soviet Union
1965 Leonard Bernstein  United States
1966 Birgit Nilsson  Sweden
1967 Witold Lutosławski  Poland
1968 Benjamin Britten  United Kingdom
1969 Boris Christoff  Bulgaria
1970 Sergiu Celibidache  Romania
1971 Arthur Rubinstein  Poland/ United States
1972 Yehudi Menuhin  United States
1973 Dmitri Shostakovich  Soviet Union
1974 Andrés Segovia  Spain
1975 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  West Germany
1976 Mogens Wöldike  Denmark
1977 Olivier Messiaen  France
1978 Jean-Pierre Rampal  France
1979 Janet Baker  United Kingdom
1980 Marie-Claire Alain  France
1981 Mstislav Rostropovich  Soviet Union
1982 Isaac Stern  United States
1983 Rafael Kubelík  Czechoslovakia
1984 Miles Davis  United States
1985 Pierre Boulez  France
1986 Sviatoslav Richter  Soviet Union
1987 Heinz Holliger  Switzerland
1988 Peter Schreier  East Germany
1989 Gidon Kremer  Soviet Union
1990 György Ligeti  Hungary/ Austria
1991 Eric Ericson  Sweden
1992 Georg Solti  Hungary/ United Kingdom
1993 Nikolaus Harnoncourt  Austria
1994 Krystian Zimerman  Poland
1995 Yuri Bashmet  Russia
1996 Per Nørgård  Denmark
1997 Andras Schiff  Hungary/ United Kingdom
1998 Hildegard Behrens  Germany
1999 Sofia Gubaidulina  Russia
2000 Michala Petri  Denmark
2001 Anne-Sophie Mutter  Germany
2002 Alfred Brendel  Austria
2003 György Kurtág  Hungary
2004 Keith Jarrett  United States
2005 John Eliot Gardiner  United Kingdom
2006 Yo-Yo Ma  United States
2007 Lars Ulrik Mortensen  Denmark
2008 Arvo Pärt  Estonia
2009 Daniel Barenboim  Argentina
2010 Cecilia Bartoli  Italy
2011 Kaija Saariaho  Finland
2012 Jordi Savall  Spain
2013 Simon Rattle  United Kingdom
2014 Martin Fröst  Sweden
2015 Thomas Adès  United Kingdom
2016 Herbert Blomstedt  Sweden
2017 Leonidas Kavakos  Greece
2018 Mariss Jansons  Latvia
2019 Hans Abrahamsen  Denmark
2020 Barbara Hannigan  Canada
2021 Unsuk Chin  South Korea
2022 Pierre-Laurent Aimard  France

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