Arvo Pärt awarded Sweden’s most prestigious music prize

This year’s Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious music prize, has been awarded to Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, English music entrepreneur and the founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, and the Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt. 

The prizes will be awarded in Stockholm on 23 May and will be attended by the Swedish royal family.

“The Polar Prize is a very prestigious and important accolade for a composer. I am very touched and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Arvo Pärt said, upon receiving the prize, according to the Estonia-based Arvo Pärt Centre.

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 prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the former manager of the Swedish pop group ABBA, and was first awarded in 1992 to Paul McCartney and the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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

Arvo Pärt is the world’s most performed living composer.

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