Swiss Flutist Emmanuel Pahud Receives 2024 Léonie Sonning Music Prize: A Celebration of Classical Virtuosity and Innovation

Starting in 1959, the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize, an international honor in the realm of classical music, has been granted in Denmark. It is the highest recognition bestowed upon accomplished composers, musicians, conductors, or vocalists in the classical music genre. The inaugural recipient of this honor was the renowned composer Igor Stravinsky.

In the upcoming 2024 edition of this esteemed award, Swiss flutist Emmanuel Pahud has been chosen for his remarkable talent in both collaborating with orchestras and delivering exceptional solo performances featuring innovative programs.

As a part of his recognition, Pahud will be presenting a series of concerts in Denmark during 2024. Notably, this award ceremony and concert, which will occur on May 30, 2024, will take place in Odense Concert Hall, marking a departure from its previous location in Copenhagen, the first such change since 1990.

Pahud commenced his flute journey at the tender age of six and was mentored by luminaries like Michel Debost and Aurèle Nicolet. He achieved top honors in international competitions held in Duino, Kobe, and Geneva between 1988 and 1992.

Before becoming the principal flutist of the Berliner Philharmonic in 1993, Pahud performed with the Basle Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. Following a period of teaching at the Geneva Conservatoire, Pahud returned to his role as a performer with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2002.

In June 2009, Pahud was honored as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in recognition of his contributions to French music. Starting in 2017, he has earned multiple ECHO awards for his CD recordings and holds the position of honorary president of the national French flute association.

Esben Tange, a board member of the award, remarked, “Flutist Emmanuel Pahud is one of the woodwind superstars, embodying classical ideals of beauty, elegance, and equilibrism while simultaneously being a driving force in the creation of new works with a modern edge. He is a master in his field and an inspiration to audiences and younger generations of musicians alike.”

Expressing his gratitude, Pahud stated, “What an overwhelming feeling to learn that you are the next recipient of the Leonie Sonning’s Music Prize! I will be looking forward to presenting fascinating creative programmes across Denmark around the award ceremony. This prestigious Music Prize will give me a new impulse to explore further horizons. It is with a lot of pride, but humbled and in awe at the achievements of past recipients, that I express my deepest gratitude to the Léonie Sonning Foundation.”

The Léonie Sonning Music Prize was established in honor of Leonie Sonning, the widow of Danish author Carl Johan Sonning. Past laureates of this illustrious award have included Leonard Bernstein, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kaija Saariaho, and Sir Simon Rattle, among others.

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