The Laureates of the Polar Music Prize 2015 are



Evelyn Glennie citation:

The Polar Music Prize 2015 is awarded to percussionist Evelyn Glennie from Aberdeen, Scotland. Evelyn Glennie, who has been deaf since the age of twelve, has a mission to teach the world to listen. She has widened our understanding of what music is and shown us that listening is only partly to do with our ears. Everyone, whatever their physical circumstances, can perceive and perform music, can feel and convey good vibrations. We all have our own, individual tone. In her home country of the United Kingdom, she has changed the criteria for acceptance by music schools, has been honoured by the Queen for her efforts and had a key role in the opening of the Olympic Games in London in 2012. As a musician, she is one of very few who have successfully made a career as a solo percussionist. She has played with the world’s foremost orchestras, conductors and artists and has released more than 30 solo albums. Evelyn Glennie shows us that the body is a resonance chamber and that we live in a universe of sound.


Emmylou Harris citation:

The Polar Music Prize 2015 is awarded to the artist Emmylou Harris from Birmingham, Alabama. No one in the history of popular music has harmonised like Emmylou Harris. For five decades she has embellished other artists’ recordings by adding vocal parts that did not exist in the melodies. But it is as an artist in her own right that she has made the greatest contribution. The music of Emmylou Harris contains the history and topography of the entire American continent. Her voice follows the contours of the American landscape, from the highest peaks to the endless prairie. Weather, soil and colour, it can all be perceived in her music. As she sings in one of the best of her own compositions, she is a red dirt girl from a red dirt town. Emmylou Harris has also used her position as a musician to work for feminism, animal rights and the care of people affected by war. Emmylou Harris makes the world bigger and smaller, more valuable and more beautiful.


Award Ceremony on 9 June, Stockholm, in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family

Emmylou Harris, 13-time Grammy winner and Evelyn Glennie, leading virtuoso percussionist, are the richly deserving 2015 Laureates. Both Laureates will attend the gala ceremony and receive their prizes from King Carl XVI on 9 June in Stockholm’s Concert Hall.

Marie Ledin, Managing Director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “In Evelyn Glennie and Emmylou Harris, the Foundation has chosen two exceptional Laureates for this year’s Polar Music Prize, as both represent the spirit of the Award that my father envisaged when he founded the Prize. We look forward to honouring Evelyn and Emmylou and paying tribute to their exceptional music careers.”

Dame Evelyn Glennie said: “I was hugely humbled and inspired when I learned that I was to be awarded with the prestigious Polar Music Prize. To be chosen from so many deserving people, from all genres of music, only makes me want to work harder, to make a difference and to rise to the occasion. Accepting the Polar Music Prize is a great honour, for which I am extremely grateful.”

Evelyn Glennie has an impressive international reputation as both the world’s first full-time classical percussionist and composer of soundtracks for film and television. She is a leading commissioner of new works for solo percussion, numbering over 170 pieces written for her. Evelyn has recorded over 30 albums, has won three Grammys, tours the world and continues to give regular master classes to encourage future generations of percussionists.

Emmylou Harris said: “I was both surprised and honoured at the news of this most prestigious award, and am now looking forward to once again returning to your beautiful country where I was first so warmly welcomed those many years ago. Thank you Polar Music Prize!”

Emmylou Harris, from Birmingham, Albama, is one of the world’s most respected and influential singer songwriters, who has won rave reviews and accolades throughout her four decades career. She has recorded more than 25 albums and her collaborations with artists such as Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson and Beck have been critically acclaimed. In 2008 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


The Polar Music Prize was founded by Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA. 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 in recognition of exceptional achievements.

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 Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation includes representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society). The task of scrutinizing nominations submitted and selecting the Laureates is undertaken by an Award Committee comprising of experienced members of the music industry, representatives from the Anderson family, musicians, and previous Laureates. Laureates each receive a specially designed trophy and cash prize of £78,560 (1 million Swedish Krona).


The Polar Talks, held in Stockholm, also take place on 8 June and will debate current issues in the music industry. For the first time in the Prize’s history, the Polar Talks will also take place in New York on 1 April.

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