The Polar Music Prize 2013 has been awarded to Chester Music composer Kaija Saariaho. After studying at IRCAM in Paris, an institution for research and study of electro-acoustic music, Saariaho has developed into a unique composer, a metal worker’s daughter who reexamines what music can be. When she was growing up, the music that inspired her came not from the radio but from the pillow; that was where she found the music she dreamt of. Kaija Saariaho combines acoustic instruments with electronics and computers. She has written chamber music, orchestral works and operas.
On August 27 the Laureates will receive the prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall to be followed by a celebratory banquet at Grand Hôtel. The ceremony will be broadcast live on national television (TV4). Later in the evening, a summary of the ceremony and the banquet will be broadcast. Each recipient receives a total amount of one million SEK.
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig ”Stikkan” Anderson, a true legend in the history of Swedish popular music. Stig Anderson was the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, and he played a key role in their enormous success. The name of the prize stems from Anderson’s legendary record label, Polar Music. The Polar Music Prize is an international music prize, which is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music.
The Polar Music Prize awards two Laureates in order to celebrate music in all its various forms and to emphasize the original intention of the Polar Music Prize: To break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.
The board of the Polar Music Prize Foundation consists of representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society). The task of scrutinizing nominations submitted and selecting the ultimate Laureates is empowered The Polar Music Award Committee comprising of internationally renowned artists and musicians as well as other key figures in the Swedish music industry.
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2012 Yo-Yo Ma and Paul Simon
2011 Kronos Quartet and Patti Smith
2010 Ennio Morricone and Björk
2009 José Antonio Abreu & El Sistema and Peter Gabriel
2008 Renée Fleming and Pink Floyd
2007 Steve Reich and Sonny Rollins
2006 Valery Gergiev and Led Zeppelin
2005 Gilberto Gil and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
2004 B.B. King and György Ligeti
2003 Keith Jarrett
2002 Sofia Gubaidulina and Miriam Makeba
2001 Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen
2000 Bob Dylan and Isaac Stern
1999 Stevie Wonder and Iannis Xenakis
1998 Ray Charles and Ravi Shankar
1997 Eric Ericson and Bruce Springsteen
1996 Pierre Boulez and Joni Mitchell
1995 Sir Elton John and Mstislav Rostropovich
1994 Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Quincy Jones
1993 Dizzy Gillespie and Witold Lutoslawski
1992 Sir Paul McCartney and The Baltic States