The Polar Music Prize, the world’s most prestigious music award, now in its 27th year, has announced that Metallica, the Grammy-Award winning and genre defining hard rock band, and The Afghanistan National Institute of Music  (ANIM) with Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, its founder and director, are this year’s recipients. The Awards will be presented at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Thursday 14 June. The event will be broadcast live on Swedish national television (TV4) at 8pm CET and can be viewed throughout Europe via TV4 Play. Each Laureate receives prize money of one million Swedish Kronor. 

Lars Ulrich, drummer and co-founder of Metallica
“Receiving the Polar Music Prize is an incredible thing, it puts us in very distinguished company..  It’s a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years.  At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us.  Thank you very much.”

James Hetfield, singer, guitarist and co-founder of Metallica said:
“I feel very honoured to be in such great company with the others who have accepted the Polar Music Prize.  As myself and as Metallica I’m grateful to have this as part of our legacy, our history.  Thank you.”

Robert Trujillo, bass player with Metallica, said:
“Receiving the Polar Music Prize is such an honour, especially sharing it  with artists (previous Laureates) such as Joni Mitchell, Keith Jarrett and Wayne Shorter, who I admire dearly.  It’s incredible to be recognised and honoured in this way, to me, it’s very prestigious.  Hopefully this will inspire younger generations of musicians to keep the music alive.”

Kirk Hammett, guitarist with Metallica, said:
“It means a lot to me because we’ve been added to a list of very distinguished artists and musicians who I respect. And to be acknowledged for the work we’ve done. I know how important this is and how much of an honour it is.”

Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder and director of ANIM, said:
“I’m very excited, honoured and privileged to be a recipient of the 2018 Polar Music Prize alongside The Afghanistan National Institute of Music.”

Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said:

We believe that our two recipients, although from very contrasting worlds, exemplify the mission of the Polar Music Prize, and that is to honour musicians and music organisations, whose work has made a difference to people’s lives.  Metallica are loved and admired by millions of hard rock fans across the globe. They have led where other bands have followed and their 2017 world tour broke all records. Dr Ahmad Sarmast founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music to restore the joy and power of music to children’s lives. ANIM’s work with young people and disadvantaged children is truly inspirational.”

The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) was founded in 2010 in Kabul by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, in response to the civil war’s destruction of Afghanistan’s centuries old rich musical tradition. In the 1980’s alone there was a thriving pop and film music industry, with hundreds of ensembles and a unique radio orchestra playing Western and Afghan instruments. Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned in Afghanistan.

Today ANIM provides a dynamic, challenging, and safe learning environment for all students regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religious sect, or socio-economic circumstances.  The institute also has a special focus on supporting the most disadvantaged children in Afghanistan – orphans, street-working vendors and girls.

Metallica was formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield. The band is one of the most influential and commercially successful rock acts in history, having sold 110 million albums worldwide, with 1991’s Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), achieving sales of nearly 17 million copies in the United States alone, making it the best-selling album in the history of Soundscan.

Metallica has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards and multiple MTV Video Music Awards. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.  In December 2013, Metallica made history when they performed a rare concert in Antarctica, becoming the first act to ever play all seven continents all within a year, and earning themselves a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Metallica’s latest album Hardwired…To Self Destruct was released on November 18, 2016 via their own Blackened Recordings record label. It debuted at No. 1 around the world, selling over

800,000 copies worldwide in its first week. Metallica recently wrapped the North American leg of the WorldWired stadium tour and will take it to Europe this Spring.

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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