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A major festival of Unsuk Chin’s music in Copenhagen leads up to the presentation of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize at a concert with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra on 5 June. Five Danish premieres appear on the week-long programme, including the Piano Concerto, Graffiti and her recent concert-opener subito con forza.

Unsuk Chin receives the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2021 within a concert on 5 June at the DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen. This forms the centrepiece of a mini-festival with five days of concerts of her music in the city spread between 30 May and 5 June. Events are presented in collaboration with a number of Danish ensembles and institutions in Copenhagen, including the Klang Festival, the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Royal Danish Library.

“With a music rich in shimmering light effects and endless colour play, Unsuk Chin is a composer who cultivates the boundless. Born in South Korea and living in Berlin, Unsuk Chin today composes a music that has deviated from traditions and is instead based on dreams and a great curiosity to create entirely new sound worlds, “explains Esben Tange, chairman of the Léonie Sonning Music Fund, on the choice of Unsuk Chin as the recipient of the award.

As a composer, Unsuk Chin has received numerous prestigious awards, and her works are performed throughout the world. In this connection, she has worked with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano and Leif Segerstam and her music has been performed by orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In the 2019/20 season, Unsuk Chin was a Composer in Residence at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, with fourteen works programmed. Unsuk Chin visited Copenhagen in 2018, where she was a Composer in Residence at the Pulsar festival at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory.

On receiving the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Unsuk Chin says: “I am deeply humbled and grateful to be awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2021. It is an unexpected honour as well as a great challenge, all the more given my great admiration for the previous awardees, most of whom have served as personal heroes and role models during my musical life. I am enormously touched by the jury’s accolade and feel a great affinity for the high artistic values represented by the Léonie Sonning Foundation. I look greatly forward towards reconnecting with your beautiful and highly artistic city, to working together with Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, other excellent ensembles and musicians, as well as with the Royal Danish Academy of Music.”

The 59-year-old Korean will be the 17th composer to receive the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, which will be raised to DKK 1,000,000 from 2021.

“Unsuk Chin’s music deserves to be heard by an even larger audience, so it is a great pleasure that a number of Danish ensembles and institutions are contributing to create an Unsuk Chin mini-festival on the occasion of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2021 for Unsuk Chin,” says Esben Tange.

The programme of concerts, replanned to comply with COVID restrictions, features five Danish premieres including Chin’s Piano Concerto, the recent orchestral opener subito con forza, Xi for large ensemble and electronics, Graffiti for chamber orchestra, and _Puzzles and Games, a suite drawn from her opera Alice in Wonderland. Performers include pianist Francesco Piemontesi, soprano Siobhan Stagg and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi, the Athelas Sinfonietta, the Esbjerg Ensemble, the Nordic String Quartet and student performers.

> Visit the Léonie Sonning Music Prize website

Sunday 30 May at 16.00-17.30
Royal Danish Academy of Music (RDAM), Studiescenen

Artist talk and workshop
Unsuk Chin, receiver of Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2021, in conversation with Søren Schauser

Piano Etudes – Ramez Mhaanna, piano
Double Bind? – Djumash Poulsen, violin

Monday 31 May at 19.30
Royal Danish Academy of Music: Concert Hall

Chamber music by Unsuk Chin
Double Bind? (2007)
Piano Etudes (1995-2003)
Gougalon (Scenes from a Street Theatre) (2009/2011)

Djumash Poulsen (violin), Ramez Mhaanna (piano) & Sinfonietta, Royal Danish Academy of Music. Conductor: Jean Thorel

Tuesday 1 June at 20.00
Koncertkirken: String Quartet concert
Klang Festival

Unsuk Chin: ParaMetaString (1996) for string quartet and electronics
Ji-Sung Yang: melody, notes, five (2011/2017)
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: String Quartet no. 4 (1967)
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: String Quartet no. 9 ”Last Ground” (2006)

Nordic String Quartet

Friday 4 June at 20.00
Royal Danish Library: Dronningesalen

Unsuk Chin Festive Concert
Klang Festival

Allegro ma non troppo (1994/1998)
Xi (1998) (Danish premiere)
Graffiti (2012-13) (Danish premiere)

Athelas Sinfonietta (Xi and Graffiti)
Esbjerg Ensemble (Allegro ma non troppo and Graffiti)

Saturday 5 June at 19.30
DR Koncerthuset: Léonie Sonning Music Prize Concert 2021

subito con forza (2020) (Danish premiere)
Piano Concerto (1996-97) (Danish premiere)
Puzzles and Games from Alice in Wonderland (2017) for soprano and orchestra (Danish premiere)

Siobhan Stagg (soprano), Francesco Piemontesi (piano)
Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Fabio Luisi

>  Further information on Work: subito con forza

Photo: Priska Ketterer

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