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Sting wins Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize

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Sting wins Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize
Sting (left) and Wayne Shorter (right) are the 2017 Polar Music Prize winners. Photo: Polar Music Prize
08:50 CET+01:00
British musician Sting and American jazz musician and composer Wayne Shorter have been announced as the winners of the 2017 edition of the prestigious Polar Music Prize.

Northumberland-born Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, rose to fame as the band leader of The Police in the late 1970s, before going on to have a successful career as a solo artist. 

"I am honored to receive the Polar Music Prize and to join past recipients who I have long admired and respected. I still maintain a childlike curiosity about music, along with a sense that I constantly need to work at it. So to be recognized in this way is truly meaningful. I am looking forward to coming to Sweden in June for this special evening," the Brit said in a press release.

Soprano and tenor sax player Shorter, from Newark, New Jersey, boasts a career which stretches back over six decades, and includes playing with all-time greats like Miles Davis, as well as winning no less than 10 Grammy Awards.

"I am deeply honoured to be awarded the 2017 Polar Music Prize and I'm looking forward to accepting it in Sweden, a country that has produced some great musicians and composers who have inspired the world. It's another great adventure for me, during a life where I've always chosen the trail less travelled because it always takes you to more interesting discoveries," jazz legend Shorter commented.

The Polar Music Prize was created in 1989 by legendary Abba manager Stig 'Stikkan' Anderson. It is handed out by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm every June.

The prize is awarded by a committee of internationally renowned artists and musicians, as well as key figures in the Swedish music industry.

In a press release, the Polar Music Award Committee explained their choices, noting that Sting "has put down his anchor in more musical harbours than perhaps any other artist of his generation," and Shorter has "over the course of an extraordinary career, constantly sought out untravelled paths".

Last year the one-million kronor prize ($112,668) was awarded to Swedish music producer Max Martin, the first Swede ever to win the prize, and Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

The award is considered one of the most respected prizes in music, something its organizers were keen to point out on Tuesday, making a cheeky reference to 2000 Polar Laureate and 2016 Nobel Literature Laureate Bob Dylan in their media release:

"Such is the honour that artists feel when being awarded the prize that even Bob Dylan, the 2000 Laureate, attended the ceremony to received his prize from the King." 

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