Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour and Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho received today the 2013 Polar Music Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall.
The Award of one million Swedish kronor ($145 000) each was handed over by the King together with specially made paintings by Swedish artist Jens Fange. Citations were read by Swedish football (soccer) player Henrik Larsson and Finnish mezzo soprano Lilli Paasikivi.
Among the artists who celebrated the Laureates were jazz vocalist Neneh Cherry and Senegalese singer Carlou D who performed Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry’s 1994 hit “7 Seconds”. Swedish soprano Hanna Husahr performed two pieces by Kaija Saariaho together with The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1991 by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, the musical impresario and manager behind pop group Abba. The Prize is awarded to two individuals, groups or institutions – in different musical fields – in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music.
“Our dad liked to say, ‘Music has no boundaries, it touches, influences and changes the world’“, said Marie Ledin, daughter of Stig Anderson and Managing Director of the Polar Music Prize.
Among the 44 Laureates since 1992 are Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles and Ravi Shankar.