The winners will receive 1 million kronor ($122,000) each and formally accept the prize from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on August 30th.
Björk was honoured for “[making] an indelible mark on pop music and modern culture at large, despite her relative youth,” the organisation said in a statement.
“No other artist moves so freely between avant-garde and pop,” the jury said. “Björk has introduced an Arctic temperament to popular music and shown how passionate and explosive it can be. Björk is an untameable force of nature, an artist who marches to nobody’s tune but her own.”
Björk started her career in Reykjavik in 1977 at the age of 11, recording an eponymous album of children’s songs and covers of popular songs that went platinum in Iceland. After achieving international success as the lead vocalist of The Sugarcubes, Björk established herself as a solo artist with the album “Debut” in 1993.
In addition to her musical career, Björk won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for her lead role in “Dancer in the Dark.”
Meanwhile, the jury lauded Morricone’s work scoring Spaghetti Western films.
“Ennio Morricone’s congenial compositions and arrangements lift our existence to another plane, making the mundane feel like dramatic scenes in full Cinemascope,” the jury said in a statement.
“When, in 1964, Ennio Morricone scored the soundtrack for the Western ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ (‘Per un pugno di dollari’), budgetary constraints prevented him from using a full orchestra. Instead, he built up a brand new kind of music that set the tone for half a century of film music.”
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of iconic Swedish pop group ABBA, and is given out to recognize artists’ contribution to music. The prize is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician.
The prize, which has been awarded since 1992 when it went to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, has also gone to American musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen, Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and British rock musicians Elton John, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd.