Léonie Sonning Awards 1993

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Nikolaus Harnoncourt received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize of DKK 200,000 at a concert held at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 8 June in Tivoli Concert Hall.

The music prize was presented by Poul Jørgensen, Head of the Royal Danish Orchestra.

The programme

Joseph Haydn: L’Infedeltà Delusa. Opera in two acts

Andrea Rost, soprano
Charlotte Margiono, soprano
Scot Weir, tenor
Don Bernardini, tenor
Anton Scharinger, bass-baritone

Concentus Musicus Wien
Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt


From the time Nikolaus Harnoncourt established the ensemble ‘Concentus Musicus’ up to the present day, where his repertoire has moved deep into the music of the 19th century, he has, by means of highly personal approaches and with considerable musical format, peeled away habitual thinking and false tradition and allowed the music to emerge in a new light.

Harnoncourt in Denmark

When Nikolaus Harnoncourt came to Copenhagen to receive the Sonning Music Prize, it was with his Austrian orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien. The programme was a repetition of the concert they had given the day before in Vienna: Joseph Haydn’s two-act opera L’Infedeltà Delusa (Deceit Outwitted) with the sopranos Andrea Rost and Charlotte Margiono as Sandrina and Vespina, the two tenors Scot Weir and Don Bernardini as Filippo and Nencio, and the bass-baritone Anton Scharinger.

Selected Music by Nikolaus Harnoncourt

The daily press

wrote, among other things:

"[…] The five magnificent singers had a good time. The thirty or so musicians in the guest orchestra Concentus Musicus from Vienna had a good time. And all of them made such committed and lively music as if each were personally responsible for the entire performance.[...] Nikolaus Harnoncourt has become an indispensable concept in present-day musical life. Along with such figures as Gustav Leonhardt and the Kuijken brothers, he is one of the pioneers of what one [...] refers to as historical performances [...]"

(Thomas Viggo Pedersen, Kristeligt Dagblad, 11 June 1993)

"[…] And musical articulation is at the core of Harnoncourt’s musical universe – a musical articulation that frequently has surprising turns of phrase [...]"

 (John Christiansen, Jyllands-Posten, 10 June 1993)

"[...] But the performance was at the level of pure dream: a miracle of beauty, charm and perfection that in itself made the evening memorable. The mildly golden strings are Harnoncourt’s personal voice [...] he forms his expression in the wealth of nuances, in the tingling network of phrasing, emphasis and honed articulation and in a rhythmic suppleness that with miraculous precision holds the music just under boiling point. Excitement stands poised, like a full thoroughbred horse."

(Jan Jacoby, Politiken, 10 June 1993)