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Sonning Music Prize Winner Is Announced

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Estonian composer Arvo Part won the 2008 Sonning Music Prize, Denmark's top music award, for works that are "rich in spiritual overtones," the prize committee said Tuesday.

Part, 71, will receive the $105,938 award, which is announced a year in advance, during a concert in Copenhagen on May 22, 2008.

Educated at the academy of music in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, Part studied European medieval and Renaissance music. He then "found his own style characterized by beauty and simplicity," the committee said.

"With music rich in spiritual overtones, Arvo Part is one of the most original voices of our time in the international world of music," the awards committee said in its citation.

The prize, named after Leonie Sonning, has been awarded annually since 1959 to an internationally renowned composer, musician, conductor or singer. Sonning, who died in 1970, was the widow of Danish editor Carl Johan Sonning.

Danish harpsichordist and conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen was the 2007 recipient.

Previous winners also include Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Anne-Sophie Mutter and John Eliot Gardiner. Jazz musicians also have received the award, including Miles Davis and Keith Jarett.