Hans Abrahamsen
(c) Lars Skaaning

The Léonie Sonning Music Foundation has announced that the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen will be awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2019.

The prize was founded in 1965 and is one of the most influential and prestigious classical music awards in Scandinavia. The award is given to an internationally acclaimed composer, conductor or musician, and the list of earlier recipients include such prominent personalities as Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti and Per Noergard to name just a few.

Hans Abrahamsen, born in 1952, began his music training playing the French horn, entering the Royal Danish Academy of Music at the age of 16. Shortly after he started focusing on composition, and began to develop a unique style, turning away from the 60’s complex modernism without rejecting the achievements of the past. From this period date the early key works including his first string quartet 10 preludes (1973), Winternacht (1976-78) and the wind quintet Walden (1978). Soon after followed the mature orchestral works, Nacht und Trompeten (1981) and Märchenbilder (1984). After a major compositional hiatus in the 90’s, the beginning of the 00’s initiated a new surge of compositional creativity resulting in masterpieces such as Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2000), Schnee (2008), Left, alone (2015) and the award-winning song cycle let me tell you (2013).

The music of Hans Abrahamsen is performed regularly across the world, and 2019 will mark a new peak in his compositional career: His first opera The Snow Queen, based on the fairy tale by H.C. Andersen, will receive its world premiere in the autumn of 2019 at The Royal Danish Opera. An English language version will be premiered at the Bayerische Staatsoper in the 2019-20 season. Within the same season the Berlin Philharmonic will premiere their fourth commission for Hans Abrahamsen: a concerto for their principal french horn player Stefan Dohr.

In 2016 Hans Abrahamsen was awarded the Grawemeyer Award and The Nordic Council Music Prize.


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