The Polar Music Prize 2014 is awarded to Peter Sellars from Pittsburgh, USA. The director Peter Sellars is a living definition of what the Polar Music Prize is all about: highlighting the music and presenting it in a new context. With his controversial productions of opera and theatre, Peter Sellars has depicted everything from war and famine to religion and globalisation. Sellars has set Mozart in the luxury of Trump Tower and in the drug trade of Spanish Harlem, turned Nixon’s visit to China into opera and set Kafka’s obsession with home cleanliness to music. Peter Sellars shows us that classical music is not about dusty sheet music and metronomic precision, but that classical music, with its violent power and complexity, has fundamentally always been and will continue to be a way of reflecting and depicting the world.
The Polar Music Prize 2014 is awarded to Chuck Berry from St. Louis, USA. The parameters of rock music were set one day in May 1955, when Chuck Berry recorded his debut single “Maybellene”. Chuck Berry was the rock’n’roll pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music. Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck Berry. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a million other groups began to learn their craft by playing Chuck Berry songs. Chuck Berry is also a superb songwriter. In the course of three minutes he conjures up an image of the everyday life and dreams of a teenager, often with the focus on cars. Chuck Berry, born in 1926, was the first to drive up onto the highway and announce that we are born to run.
On Tuesday, 26 of August the Laureates will receive the prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall to be followed by a celebratory banquet at Grand Hôtel. The ceremony will be broadcast live on national television (TV4). Each recipient receives a total amount of one million SEK.
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989, 25 years ago this year, 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 is an international music prize, which is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement 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 board of the Polar Music Prize Foundation consists of representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society). The task of scrutinizing nominations submitted and selecting the ultimate Laureates is empowered The Polar Music Award Committee comprising of internationally renowned artists and musicians as well as other key figures in the Swedish music industry.
High-resolution images of the Laureates can be downloaded below.
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