The Polar Music Prize 2019 is awarded to the DJ and musician Joseph Saddler, known as Grandmaster Flash. Born in Barbados and raised in the South Bronx, New York, Grandmaster Flash created a whole new way of making music. Grandmaster Flash is a scientist and a virtuoso who has demonstrated that turntables and mixing consoles can be musical instruments. His adventures at the turntables – “the Adventures of the Wheels of Steel” – changed the course of popular music. Some 40 years later, the musical form and the hip hop culture that Grandmaster Flash helped to create, in the ruins of the South Bronx in the mid-1970s, has grown into the largest music genre, hip hop, in the United States and the world.
The Polar Music Prize 2019 is awarded to the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, known as ’the Queen of the Violin’. She grew up in a small village in the Black Forest. By the age of five, it was obvious that the football-playing girl had an exceptional musical talent. At the age of 13, she auditioned for Herbert von Karajan. The following year, she started playing with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the years, several of the world’s foremost modern composers have written music specially for her. With her Stradivarius under her chin, Anne-Sophie Mutter is not just one passionate and risk-taking musician – she is also a storyteller. As she herself said, “Music is only touching when it tells a story.” With her passionate commitment to justice, Mutter demonstrates the power and key role of music in the world
Playing For Change
The Polar Music Prize 2019 is awarded to The Playing For Change Foundation dedicated to providing music and arts education to underprivileged children around the world. In 2002, co-founders Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke created the Playing For Change movement from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. The organization established the foundation in 2007 as a way to give back to the communities of the musicians they met along their journey. Since then, it has grown into a global project with 15 music schools and programs around the world that have impacted the lives of over 15,000 children and their surrounding communities. The Playing For Change Foundation shows how music can be used to inspire, build bridges between people, create positive change, and conditions for peace.
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 at least two Laureates each year 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 11-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.