The 2018 Polar Music Prize is awarded to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and Dr Ahmad Sarmast, its visionary founder and director, in recognition of how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people’s lives.
In the 1990’s, Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage, which thrived for centuries, was abruptly halted by the civil war and from 1996 until 2001, music was forbidden and silenced throughout the country. In 2008, Dr. Sarmast, the son of a famous conductor, returned to Kabul, at great personal risk, to establish ANIM. ANIM, a decade on, flourishes and is committed to preserving Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage and to providing a safe learning environment to hundreds of boys and girls.
The 2018 Polar Music Prize is awarded to the American band Metallica.
Not since Wagner’s emotional turmoil and Tchaikovsky’s cannons has anyone created music that is so physical and furious, and yet still so accessible. Through virtuoso ensemble playing and its use of extremely accelerated tempos, Metallica has taken rock music to places it had never been before. In Metallica’s world, both a teenage bedroom and a concert hall can be transformed into a Valhalla. The strength of the band’s uncompromising albums has helped millions of listeners to transform their sense of alienation into a superpower.
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 celebrates the power and importance of music and is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions for international recognition of excellence in the world 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 Polar Music Prize is globally unique through its combination of breadth and size. Nominations are handled by a prize committee which is entitled to nominate candidates of its own. The Polar Music Prize Award Committee is an independent 12-member Award Committee which selects the Laureates. The committee receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council, the UNESCO founded NGO which promotes geographical and musical diversity.
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