The King of Sweden presented the Polar Music Prize awards in Stockholm


At an award ceremony in Stockholm today, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the Polar Music Prize to Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, founder of Island Records and music producer Chris Blackwell, and composer Arvo Pärt. The prize was accepted on behalf of Arvo Pärt by his son and Chairman of the Council of the Arvo Pärt Centre, Michael Pärt.

Michael Pärt gave the composer’s heartfelt thanks to the Polar Music Prize Committee and to all the musicians and listeners who have supported his work over the years.

“Arvo sends his love to all of you here tonight”, said Michael Pärt in his acceptance speech.

“At a time when so many are feeling lost and alone, when the world is tearing itself apart, my father’s music is a reminder of our common humanity, of the things that unite us rather than divide us. It is a call to love, to empathy, and to understanding. Arvo Pärt has said that “Bettering the world does not begin from the opposite end of the world, but from within yourself. Millimetre by millimetre. What does a millimetre mean on music paper? What kind of weapon is it when measured out correctly? This needs to be a school of shaping the soul, not merely a school of composition.”

“At the micro level, Pärt’s music speaks to the individual; it invites the listener inwards to experience their reflection of it in a deeply personal way. At the macro level, Pärt’s music speaks to the larger questions of faith and existence as a whole; it invites us to view the nature of the universe and our place within it”, said Michael Pärt.

The Polar Prize ceremony and banquet took place at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. The ceremony featured performances by renowned Swedish musicians Daniela Rathana, Deportees, Benjamin Ingrosso, Anna Ternheim and Ysee. Pianist Karin Haglund and violinist Claudia Bonfigliolia performed Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” and St. Jacobs Chamber Choir performed “The Deer’s Cry” by Arvo Pärt. The evening also saw a performance by one of France’s most popular jazz artists, Ibrahim Maalouf.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, a legend in the history of Swedish music and publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, to celebrate excellence in music. Stig Anderson believed that music was equally as important to society as, for example, science, medicine and literature, and should have a prize to reflect this.

The Polar Music Prize is awarded to representatives of both classical and popular music, to individuals, groups and institutions whose achievements in the field of music are outstanding and who have received worldwide recognition. The first prizes were awarded in 1992 to Paul McCartney and the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Classical music laureates include Witold Lutosławski, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sofia Gubaidulina, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho and the Kronos Quartet.

For more information and videos introducing the laureates, please visit the Polar Music Prize website www.polarmusicprize.org.



Join our newsletter