Polar Music Prize
Get Polar Music Prize essential facts below, , or join the Polar Music Prize discussion. Add Polar Music Prize to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Polar Music Prize

Polar Music Prize
A crown made of music notes and signs
Awarded forInternational recognition of excellence in the world of music
Presented byStig Anderson Music Award Foundation
First awarded1992

The Polar Music Prize is a Swedish international award founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of the Swedish band ABBA, with a donation to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.[1] The award is annually given to one contemporary musician and one classical musician.[2] Exceptions were made in 2001, when it was awarded to three musicians (one composer, one contemporary musician and one inventor), and 2003, when it was awarded only to one musician. Without any restrictions of nationality, the prize is to be "awarded for significant achievements in music and/or musical activity, or for achievements which are found to be of great potential importance for music or musical activity, and it shall be referable to all fields within or closely connected with music".[3] The prize has been called the "Nobel Prize of Music" in Sweden.[4][5][6]

The first recipients were the British musician Paul McCartney and the Baltic States. Laureates are awarded 1 million kr (approximately US$120,000 at 2016 rates, US$106,000 in 2019)[7][8] handed over by king Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in a ceremony at Stockholm Concert Hall in June every year. The Polar Music Prize is regarded as Sweden's foremost musical honour.[9] The prize is overseen by the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation, which includes members of Anderson's family and representatives of SKAP - the Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and the Swedish Performing Rights Society.[10][11] A committee of musicians, other experienced members of the music industry, and members of Anderson's family selects the prize recipients from nominations submitted by representatives of several international music industry organizations, such as the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance.[10][11][12] The prize amount is raised from revenue from the donation, while the ceremony is funded by sponsors. In June, 2018 it was reported by Swedish public service radio that the Polar Prize organization has made large financial losses for several years.[13]

The current CEO of the Polar Music Prize is Marie Ledin [sv]; former holders of the office include Stuart Ward and Hélène Carendi.


A serious, standing man holding his guitar with his left hand and placing his other hand on his left arm
Paul McCartney was the first winner in 1992 and one of two people (the other being Chuck Berry) who didn't receive the award in person.
A smiling man crossing his legs and placing his left arm on the styre
Witold Lutos?awski was the first classical musician to win the award in 1993.
A woman holding her guitar while looking at it
Joni Mitchell was the first female award recipient in 1996.
A montage of four musicians; from upper left to bottom right: A man with curly hair, a man with moustache looking at his drums, a short-haired man looking to the right, a curly-haired man singing with a microphone
The English band Led Zeppelin became the first musical group to win the award in 2006.
An elderly man standing on the right, alongside his three inventions
Robert Moog became the first inventor to win the award for the synthesizer MiniMoog in 2001.
Gilberto Gil - the winner in the contemporary category in 2005, receives the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Ennio Morricone - the only film composer to win the award in 2010
Björk - the winner in the contemporary category in 2010
Kronos Quartet - winners in the classical category in 2011
Patti Smith - the winner in the contemporary category in 2011
A man playing guitar on stage with a band
Paul Simon - the winner in the contemporary category in 2012
A man playing on a cello, with his eyes closed and his body visible on a large screen
Yo-Yo Ma - the winner in the classical category in 2012
Year Recipient Nationality Reason Ref
1992 Paul McCartney United Kingdom

"...for his creativity and imagination as a composer and artist which has revitalized popular music worldwide over the last 30 years."

1992 Baltic states the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

"...to support their national music culture, as a nucleus for the formation of performing rights societies in international co-operation."

1993 Dizzy Gillespie United States

"...Closely familiar with the origins and roots of jazz, and perceiving its fertile development out of a variety of musical cultures, Dizzy Gillespie came on the scene, almost half a century ago, as a revolutionary innovator."

1993 Witold Lutos?awski Poland

"...one of the pioneers of contemporary European art music."

1994 Quincy Jones United States

"...a boundary-transcending musical magician"

1994 Nikolaus Harnoncourt Austria

"...ranks today as a pioneer of the revival of interest, ... But he is also an independent ground-breaker who is constantly discovering new dimensions of the classics."

1995 Elton John United Kingdom

"...a central figure in the popular music crucible of the 70s and 80s and, eventually, an eccentric mega-star with a big output of successful hits with a worldwide response from a broadbased public."

1995 Mstislav Rostropovich Russia

"...for a unique artistic achievement distinguished by originality, independence, fluency and vigour of interpretation and instrumental mastery."

1996 Joni Mitchell Canada

"...In a long career of prolific and many-sided artistry, she has combined the roles of composer, lyric writer, vocal artist and musician with an impressive array of 'first instruments'."

1996 Pierre Boulez France

"...His profound musicality, clear intelligence and unusual farsightedness have enabled him to act in a wider field than the great majority. Thus he has occupied the forefront as composer, interpreter/conductor and eminent theorist, and he has made unique contributions as a debater and source of ideas."

1997 Bruce Springsteen United States

"...for an outstanding career as singer and stage performer."

1997 Eric Ericson Sweden

"...for pioneering achievements as a conductor, teacher, artistic originator and inspirer in Swedish and international choral music."

1998 Ray Charles United States

"...one of the leading figures of soul music and an important stylistic innovator with an unusual diversity of musical roots ... a man whose presence, ever since the 1950s, has been perceptible behind generations of innumerable pop musicians and singers."

1998 Ravi Shankar India

"...for nearly six decades of achievement as a brilliant performer and explorer of his country's art music and at the same time a leading representative and communicator to western civilisation of the musical traditions of the Orient."

1999 Stevie Wonder United States

"...for a unique career as a singer, composer and stage artist."

1999 Iannis Xenakis Greece

"...for a long succession of forceful works, charged with sensitivity, commitment and passion, ... exercising within its various fields an influence which cannot be readily overstated."

2000 Bob Dylan United States

"...his achievements encompass almost four decades of constantly changing modes of creativity, always innovative, but always based on American musical traditions and roots."

2000 Isaac Stern United States

"...for a unique and consummate artistry distinguished by a personal musicianship without compare for over half a century, for his pioneering achievement on behalf of young people the world over, for his patient and energetic commitment to preserving and developing places where music is played, and for his uncompromising attitude concerning the humanistic power of music."

2001 Burt Bacharach United States

"...Bacharach has been a principal player on the international music scene since his debut in the late 1950's, producing a host of timeless classics stemming from his infallible feeling for powerful, memorable and unmistakably personal melodies and for brilliantly designed harmony."

2001 Robert Moog United States

"...for his design of the MiniMoog, the first compact, easy-to-use synthesizer, which paved the way to the realm of electronic sounds that has revolutionised all genres of music during the past half-century."

2001 Karlheinz Stockhausen Germany

"...for a career as a composer that has been characterized by impeccable integrity and never-ceasing creativity, and for having stood at the forefront of musical development for fifty years."

2002 Miriam Makeba South Africa

"...Miriam Makeba embodied the concept of world music long before the term even existed on the musical map. In the 1960s, her expressive voice drew attention to the musical riches of the African continent."

2002 Sofia Gubaidulina Russia

"...whose intensely expressive and deeply personal musical idiom has the ability to speak to an ever-growing audience of listeners all over the world."

2003 Keith Jarrett United States

"...for his outstanding musical contributions in fields as diverse as classical interpretation and jazz improvisation."

2004 B.B. King United States

"...for his significant contributions to the blues."

2004 György Ligeti Hungary

"...for stretching the boundaries of the musically conceivable, from mind-expanding sounds to new astounding processes, in a thoroughly personal style that embodies both inquisitiveness and imagination."

2005 Gilberto Gil Brazil

"...for his unflinching creative engagement in bringing to the world the heart and soul of the rich music of Brazil."

2005 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau Germany

"...for his unique artistry in every area of classical singing and for his unparalleled achievements as a penetrating and innovative interpreter of art songs in the German language."

2006 Led Zeppelin United Kingdom

"...one of the great pioneers of rock."

2006 Valery Gergiev Russia

"...for the way his unique, electrifying musical skills have deepened and renewed our relationship with the grand tradition; and for how he has managed to develop and amplify the importance of artistic music in these modern, changing times."

2007 Sonny Rollins United States

"...Sonny Rollins has elevated the unaccompanied solo to the highest artistic level - all characterised by a distinctive and powerful sound, irresistible swing and an individual musical sense of humour."

2007 Steve Reich United States

"...The award recognises his unique ability to use repeats, canon technique and minimal variation of patterns to develop an entire universe of evocative music, endowed with immediate tonal beauty."

2008 Pink Floyd United Kingdom

"...for their monumental contribution over the decades to the fusion of art and music in the development of popular culture."

2008 Renée Fleming United States

"...in recognition of her sublime unparalleled voice and unique stylistic versatility. [People] have been dazzled by the beauty of her soft and natural voice."

2009 Peter Gabriel United Kingdom

"...for his ground-breaking, outward-looking and boundary-busting artistry."

2009 José Antonio Abreu & El Sistema Venezuela

"... Abreu created the music network El Sistema, which has given hundreds of thousands the tools to leave poverty. José Antonio Abreu's successful creation has promoted traditional values, like respect, fellowship and humanity."

2010 Björk Iceland

"...With her deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice, Björk has already made an indelible mark on pop music and modern culture at large [...]."

2010 Ennio Morricone Italy

"...Ennio Morricone's congenial compositions and arrangements lift our existence to another plane, making the mundane feel like dramatic scenes in full Cinemascope."

2011 Kronos Quartet United States

"...For almost 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has been revolutionizing the potential of the string quartet genre when it comes to both style and content."

2011 Patti Smith United States

"...Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock'n'roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock'n'roll."

2012 Paul Simon United States

"...Nobody else is more deserving of the epithet of "world-class songwriter." For five decades, Paul Simon has built bridges not only over troubled waters but over entire oceans by (re)joining the world's continents with his music."

2012 Yo-Yo Ma United States

"...Yo-Yo Ma has dedicated his virtuosity and his heart to journeys of musical exploration and discovery around the world."

2013 Youssou N'Dour Senegal

"...Youssou N'Dour is maintaining the griot tradition and has shown that it can also be changed into a narrative about the entire world. ... His voice encompasses an entire continent's history and future, blood and love, dreams and power."

2013 Kaija Saariaho Finland

"...Kaija Saariaho combines acoustic instruments with electronics and computers. She has written chamber music, orchestral works and operas. Kaija Saariaho is a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love."

2014 Chuck Berry United States

"...Chuck Berry was the rock'n'roll pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music."

2014 Peter Sellars United States

"...Peter Sellars shows us that classical music is not about dusty sheet music and metronomic precision, but that classical music, with its violent power and complexity, has fundamentally always been and will continue to be a way of reflecting and depicting the world."

2015 Emmylou Harris United States

"The music of Emmylou Harris contains the history and topography of the entire American continent."

2015 Evelyn Glennie United Kingdom

"Evelyn Glennie shows us that the body is a resonance chamber and that we live in a universe of sound."

2016 Max Martin Sweden

"In the last 20 years, no composer in the world has written melodies as sustainable or as widespread as those of Max Martin"

2016 Cecilia Bartoli Italy

"Cecilia Bartoli adds new chapters to the history of music, builds bridges between centuries and deepens our understanding of Europe's cultural heritage"

2017 Sting United Kingdom

"As a composer, Sting has combined classic pop with virtuoso musicianship and an openness to all genres and sounds from around the world."

2017 Wayne Shorter United States

"[...]he has written a number of the most enduring compositions in the history of jazz. Without the musical explorations of Wayne Shorter, modern music would not have drilled so deep."

2018 Afghanistan National Institute of Music and Ahmad Sarmast Afghanistan

"...in recognition of how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people's lives."

2018 Metallica United States

"Not since Wagner's emotional turmoil and Tchaikovsky's cannons has anyone created music that is so physical and furious, and yet still so accessible."

2019 Grandmaster Flash United States

"Grandmaster Flash is a scientist and a virtuoso who has demonstrated that turntables and mixing consoles can be musical instruments. His adventures at the turntables - "the Adventures of the Wheels of Steel" - changed the course of popular music."

2019 Anne-Sophie Mutter Germany

"With her Stradivarius under her chin, Anne-Sophie Mutter is not just one passionate and risk-taking musician - she is also a storyteller. As she herself said, "Music is only touching when it tells a story." With her passionate commitment to justice, Mutter demonstrates the power and key role of music in the world."

2019 Playing for Change United States

"...a global project with 15 music schools and programs around the world that have impacted the lives of over 15,000 children and their surrounding communities. The Playing For Change Foundation shows how music can be used to inspire, build bridges between people, create positive change, and conditions for peace."



  1. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (26 January 2007). "Reich and Rollins Win Polar Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ Moser, Whet (March 24, 2014). "Swedish Pop Mafia: How a culturally conservative effort in the 1940s backfired to create the greatest engine of pop music in the world". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "History". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Bjork and Ennio Morricone win Polar Music Prize". BBC News. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 2012.
  5. ^ "Polar Music Prize". Kinnarps. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ "Kronos Quartet, Patti Smith awarded Polar Music Prize 2011". Xinhua. 3 May 2011. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ "Convert SEK_USD. Sweden Krona to United States Dollar". XE.com. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ https://www.google.com/search?q=krona+to+dollar&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
  9. ^ "Morricone, Bjork win 2010 Polar Music Prize". CBC News. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ a b "About". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ a b "The Award Committee". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 10 October 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ "Nominations". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Polarprisstiftelsen har svårt att hitta sponsorer - Kulturnytt i P1" (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Sir Paul McCartney". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ "the Baltic States; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 4 April 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ "Dizzy Gillespie". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ "Witold Lutoslawski". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "Quincy Jones". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "Nikolaus Harnoncourt". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "Sir Elton John". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "Mstislav Rostropovich". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Joni Mitchell". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Pierre Boulez". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ "Bruce Springsteen". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ "Eric Ericson". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ "Ray Charles". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ "Ravi Shankar". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "Stevie Wonder". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Iannis Xenakis". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ "Bob Dylan". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ "Isaac Stern". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "Burt Bacharach". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ "Robert Moog". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ "Karlheinz Stockhausen". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ "Miriam Makeba". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  36. ^ "Sofia Gubaidulina". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  37. ^ "Keith Jarrett". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  38. ^ "B. B. King". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  39. ^ "György Ligeti". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  40. ^ "Gilberto Gil". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  41. ^ "Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  42. ^ "Led Zeppelin". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  43. ^ "Valery Gergiev". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  44. ^ "Sonny Rollins". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  45. ^ "Steve Reich". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  46. ^ "Pink Floyd". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  47. ^ "Renée Fleming". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  48. ^ "Peter Gabriel". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  49. ^ "José Antonio Abreu and El sistema". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  50. ^ "Björk". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  51. ^ "Ennio Morricone". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  52. ^ "Kronos Quartet". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  53. ^ "Patti Smith". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  54. ^ "Paul Simon". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  55. ^ "Yo-Yo Ma". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  56. ^ "Youssou N'Dour". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  57. ^ "Kaija Saariaho". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2014.
  58. ^ a b "Chuck Berry and Peter Sellars named as Polar laureates". BBC News. 8 May 2014.
  59. ^ "Chuck Berry". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  60. ^ "Peter Sellars". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  61. ^ "Emmylou Harris". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2015.
  62. ^ "Evelyn Glennie". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  63. ^ "Max Martin". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 27 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  64. ^ "Cecilia Bartoli". Polar Music Prize. Archived from the original on 27 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  65. ^ "Sting". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2017.
  66. ^ "Wayne Shorter". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2017.
  67. ^ "Afghanistan National Institute of Music". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2018.
  68. ^ "Metallica". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2018.
  69. ^ "Grandmaster Flash". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2019.
  70. ^ "Anne-Sophie Mutter". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2019.
  71. ^ "Playing For Change". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes