The Laureates of the Polar Music Prize 2013 are YOUSSOU N’DOUR & KAIJA SAARIAHO

The Laureates of the Polar Music Prize 2013 are:


Youssou N’Dour Citation:

The Polar Music Prize 2013 is awarded to Youssou N’Dour from Senegal. A West
African griot is not just a singer, but a storyteller, poet, singer of praise, entertainer and
verbal historian. Youssou N’Dour is maintaining the griot tradition and has shown that it
can also be changed into a narrative about the entire world. With his exceptionally
exuberant band Super Étoile de Dakar (Dakar star) and his musically ground breaking
and political solo albums, Youssou N’Dour has worked to reduce animosities between
his own religion, Islam, and other religions. His voice encompasses an entire
continent’s history and future, blood and love, dreams and power.

Kaija Saariaho Citation:

The Polar Music Prize 2013 is awarded to Kaija Saariaho from Finland. After studying
at IRCAM in Paris, an institution for research and study of electro-acoustic music, Kaija
Saariaho has developed into a unique composer, a metal worker’s daughter who reexamines
what music can be. When she was growing up, the music that inspired her
came not from the radio but from the pillow; that was where she found the music she
dreamt of. Kaija Saariaho combines acoustic instruments with electronics and
computers. She has written chamber music, orchestral works and operas. Kaija
Saariaho is a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and
stirrups to fall in love.

On Tuesday 27th 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). Later in the evening, a summary of the ceremony and
the banquet will be broadcast.

Each recipient receives a total amount of one million SEK.

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 is an international music prize, which is awarded to individuals, groups
or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of

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 Popular Music Composers) 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.

Previous Laureates

2012   Yo-Yo Ma and Paul Simon
2011   Kronos Quartet and Patti Smith
2010   Ennio Morricone and Björk
2009   José Antonio Abreu & El Sistema and Peter Gabriel
2008   Renée Fleming and Pink Floyd
2007   Steve Reich and Sonny Rollins
2006   Valery Gergiev and Led Zeppelin
2005   Gilberto Gil and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
2004   B.B. King and György Ligeti
2003   Keith Jarrett
2002   Sofia Gubaidulina and Miriam Makeba
2001   Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen
2000   Bob Dylan and Isaac Stern
1999   Stevie Wonder and Iannis Xenakis
1998   Ray Charles and Ravi Shankar
1997   Eric Ericson and Bruce Springsteen
1996   Pierre Boulez and Joni Mitchell
1995   Sir Elton John and Mstislav Rostropovich
1994   Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Quincy Jones
1993   Dizzy Gillespie and Witold Lutoslawski
1992   Sir Paul McCartney and The Baltic States

When tweeting about the Polar Music Prize, please use the official hashtag #polarmusicprize

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Watch video from the Announcement Ceremony: