Björk and Morricone win Polar Music Prize

By | Published on Tuesday 18 May 2010

Björk and Ennio Morricone have been named the winners of this year’s Polar Music Prize, which is handed out annually in Sweden to two artists, typically a pop artist and a classical composer. The pair will be invited to receive the one million kronor (£89,000) prize from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf on 31 Aug in Stockholm.

The award’s judging panel said of Björk in a statement: “With her deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice, Björk has already made an indelible mark on pop music and modern culture at large, despite her relative youth. No other artist moves so freely between avant-garde and pop. With her albums and videos, Björk has taken avant-garde to the top of the charts. She has also always embraced technological advances, combining computers with ancient sounds. Björk has introduced an arctic temperament to popular music and shown how passionate and explosive it can be. Björk is an untameable force of nature, an artist who marches to nobody’s tune but her own”.

As for Morricone, they added: “Ennio Morricone’s congenial compositions and arrangements lift our existence to another plane, making the mundane feel like dramatic scenes in full Cinemascope. When, in 1964, Ennio Morricone scored the soundtrack for the Western ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’, budgetary constraints prevented him from using a full orchestra. Instead, he built up a brand new kind of music that set the tone for half a century of film music, but also influenced and inspired a number of musicians in the spheres of pop, rock and classical music”.

Previous winners of the prize, which was launched in 1992, include: Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar, Iannis Xenakis, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog, BB King, Led Zeppelin, Sonny Rollins, Steve Reich, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel.