Léonie Sonning Music Prize

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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 DKK 600,000 (EUR 80,000; US$ 125,000) 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 Johann Sonning.

Léonie Sonning Music Prize Laureates[edit]

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