This year’s recipients of Sweden’s most important Polar Music Prize, awarded yesterday, are Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, five-time Grammy Award-winning Beninese artist and songwriter Angélique Kidjo, and Chris Blackwell, founder of one of Britain’s largest independent record labels, Island Records. Congratulations!
The Polar Music Prize is one of the most prestigious and unique music awards in the world, given to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements.
Marie Ledin, executive director of the Polar Music Prize, said on their website: “Arvo Pärt is one of the most incredible composers the world has ever seen and his beautiful music has touched audiences around the world. We are so pleased to honor him as part of the 2023 Polar Music Awards.”
The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 23 in Stockholm.
The first Polar Music Prize award ceremony took place in May 1992 in Stockholm. King Carl XVI Gustaf handed over the award to the first laureates of the award, Sir Paul McCartney, and the Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Unfortunately, Paul McCartney could not participate in the ceremony, because he was currently recording his new album, but representatives of the three Baltic countries were present (Estonia was represented by Minister of Culture Märt Kubo, Eino Tamberg also participated in the ceremony). Each country received SEK 1 million to develop the copyright structure and support the establishment of composers’ rights organizations.
The Estonian prize money was entrusted to the Swedish association STIM, which made payments to EAÜ little by little over the course of two years, and thanks to which EAÜ was able to build up the organization in its early years. STIM also advised EAU in every way, especially STIM’s CEO Gunnar Petri and Bo Lindqvist, who can be considered in some ways the godfathers of EAÜ.
You can read more about the award given to the Baltic states in 1992 and the award ceremony here: https://www.polarmusicprize.org/laureates/the-baltic-states