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Chin Un-suk wins Leonie Sonning Music Prize 2021

Chin Un-suk (Yonhap)
Chin Un-suk (Yonhap)

Composer Chin Un-suk, 58, has been named the winner of Leonie Sonning Music Prize 2021.

The Leonie Sonning Music Prize is awarded every year to an internationally recognized composer, instrumentalist, conductor or singer. Chin is the first Asian to receive Denmark’s highest music award since its founding in 1959.
Chin will receive 133,000 euros ($146,529), according to the Leonie Sonning Music Foundation.

“With music rich in shimmering light effects and endless color play, Chin is a composer who cultivates the boundless,” Esben Tange, chairman of the foundation, said in a statement.

Chin will receive the prize at a ceremony June 5, 2021, in Copenhagen. At the ceremony Fabio Luisi, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s music director-designate, will perform Chin’s works “Choros Chordon,” “Dance of Strings” and “The Song of the Children of the Stars” with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Seoul, Chin has been based in Berlin since 1988. She is widely known for her piece “Alice in Wonderland,” which premiered at the Bavarian State Opera in 2007.

She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Grawemeyer Award in 2004, the Arnold Schonberg Prize in 2005, the 2010 Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award and the 2019 Bach Award.

Chin was appointed by Maestro Chung Myung-whun as the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s composer-in-residence in 2006. She also assumed the post of artistic director of the orchestra’s contemporary music series and served as artistic adviser to the orchestra before her departure in 2018.

Last year, Chin was named composer-in-residence of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, which is based at the iconic Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall in Germany, for the 2019-2020 season.

Russian composer, pianist and conductor Igor Stravinsky was the first recipient of the Leonie Sonning Music Prize. Past winners also include Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Gidon Kremer and Anne-Sophie Mutter.

By Song Seung-hyun (
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Korea Herald daum