Composer and jazz saxophonist share Polar Music Prize

AFP - [email protected]

US composer Steve Reich and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins were on Thursday awarded the Polar Music Prize for their contributions to music, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music said.


The two will receive one million Swedish kronor (140,000 dollars, 108,000 euros) each, and will be presented their awards by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a gala ceremony in Stockholm on May 21.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of iconic Swedish pop group ABBA.

The prize has been awarded since 1992, when it went to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.

Among other winners are Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil and German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, American jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch, British pop musician Elton John, French classical conductor and composer Pierre Boulez, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, US musician B.B. King and American popular and folk musicians Bruce Springsteen, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan.

Last year the prize was shared by British rock legends Led Zeppelin and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music said the award to Reich recognised 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."

"Inspired by different musical traditions, Steve Reich has transferred questions of faith, society and philosophy into a hypnotic sounding music that has inspired musicians and composers of all genres," it said in its citation.

As for Rollins, he has been "one of the most powerful and personal voices in jazz for more than 50 years," the academy said.

He "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."

"He is still active and the greatest remaining master from one of jazz's seminal eras," it said.


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