Polar Music Prize announces winners

Prize winners Gleenie and Harris

Prize winners Gleenie and Harris

Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie and US country star Emmylou Harris are the winners of this year’s Polar Music Prize, it was announced today.

Glennie, who is deaf, is one of the leading instrumentalists in her field and has released 30 albums and worked together with such luminaries as previous Polar Prize winner Björk, as well as opening the 2012 London Olympics.

“She has introduced the world to the solo percussionist genre in a great way”, says Thomas Johansson who is part of the Polar Music Prize selection committee.

Emmylou Harris, from Birmingham, Alabama, in the USA, has won 13 Grammy awards during her long career and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. She is the first country star to receive the Polar Prize.

“It feels good to give the award to a female country music star when the genre is so male-dominated”, says Thomas Johansson.

The Polar Music Prize has been awarded annually in Sweden since 1992, and was founded by Stig Andersson, Abba’s former manager. His aim when creating the award was to make it “the world’s biggest music prize”. 

The prize is awarded to two musicians or groups every year without any restrictions of nationality or genre. One contemporary musician and one classical musician receives the prize and roughly 150 000 dollars each.

Today’s laureates follow in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Elton John and the late South African great Miriam Makeba who are all past winners of the prize.

The award will be handed out at a ceremony in Stockholm’s Concert Hall this summer.

Swedish Radio

Photo: James Callaghan/TT