Photo: Foto: Priska Ketterer © 2014

The Léoni Sonning Music Prize 2021

UNSUK CHIN / Sonning Prize koncert

DR Koncerthuset

5/6 2021, 19:30

Ørestads Blvd. 13
2300 København


For decades, the 59-year-old South Korean composer Unsuk Chin has thrilled classical music audiences in concert halls around the world with music full of flickering light effects and endless plays of colors. With her transnational background - she has lived in Germany since 1985 - she has freed herself from traditions and is instead looking for completely new sound worlds.

Subito con forza ("Suddenly and with Power") is Unsuk Chin's latest orchestral work, composed as a tribute to Beethoven's anniversary in 2020. The music hides both quotes from the German colleague and more implicit reflections on the deafness that struck and frustrated him cruel.

Chin hoped as a child that she would one day become a concert pianist. But she grew up in poor conditions in 1960s Seoul, and there was no money to be taught. The great love for the piano, however, shines through in the Piano Concerto, a virtuoso ride through the piano literature and the tonal potential of the instrument.

Lewis Carroll has played a major role for Unsuk Chin, as evidenced by the evening's final work, written on the basis of Chin's opera Alice in Wonderland from 2007. Puzzles and Games is a song cycle in 11 parts for soprano and orchestra, and just like in the opera derives the text in direct or edited form from Carroll's beloved novel.

On receiving the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Chin says: “I am deeply humbled and grateful. It is an unexpected honor as well as a great challenge, as many of the previous award recipients are my personal heroes and role models in my musical life. ”


Unsuk Chin:
Subito con forza (2020)
Piano Concerto (1996-97)
Puzzles and Games from Alice in Wonderland (2017)


The concert is part of the Léonie Sonnings Musikfond award ceremony 2021.
The concert is presented in collaboration with the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation and the DR Symphony Orchestra.


DR Symphony Orchestra

Fabio Luisi

Francesco Piemontesi

Siobhan Stagg