The prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize of DKK 600,000 will be awarded to Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Since its inception in 1959, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize has established itself as a paramount event in Danish music life. The prize is awarded annually to an internationally acknowledged composer, musician, conductor or singer.
Saariaho will be presented with the award at a concert on May 5, 2011 at the DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds. In addition, a Saariaho concert will be held on May 4 2010 at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen, with the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen conducted by Pierre André Valade.
On receiving the award, Kaija Saariaho said: I am very happy to receive the prestigious Sonning Music Prize, and honoured to follow those prestigious predecessors. I am especially glad that this honour comes from a Nordic country, as I feel that my music is not there as much - except in Finland – compared to other European countries or North America.