The Polar Music Prize, which was founded in 1989 by Swedish musician Stig ”Stikkan” Anderson, is one of the world’s most prestigious music awards. Previous winners have included Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Metallica, The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), Grandmaster Flash, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Stevie Wonder and Björk.
The prize takes its name from Anderson’s music label. Anderson, who was publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, died in 1997.
The laureates, as the recipients are known, are chosen by an award committee made up of 11 members from the music industry, members of the Anderson Family and previous laureates. Nominations come via members of the public as well as the International Music Council.
“With his era-defining group The Stooges, Iggy Pop created furious rock music by blending together blues and free jazz influences with the roar of the Michigan automotive industry,” said the committee. “With his courage, initiative and raw power, Iggy Pop paved the way for punk and post-punk.”
“Groups like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Nick Cave all followed in his footsteps. As a solo artist, Iggy Pop has never slowed down, and has instead pushed this art form forwards for half a century. Iggy Pop is ‘the chairman of the bored’ who portrays alienation in poetic language. A wholly unique artist who personifies and embodies what rock music is about.”
Of Ensemble intercontemporain, the Polar Prize committee said: “Ensemble intercontemporain is the Stradivarius of modern music and has inspired the greatest composers of our time to create new masterpieces since the 1970s.”
“Thanks to its openness to new technology and collaborating with other art forms, this groundbreaking ensemble has been enormously important for pushing progress. Ensemble intercontemporain is made up of 31 soloists and has a repertoire that now includes over 3,000 modern pieces. Thanks to its focus on creativity, innovation and high quality, as well as focusing on engaging with young musicians, the ensemble has helped to advance the entire world of music.”
Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, added: “We are delighted to return in 2022, after a two year absence due to the pandemic, with two incredibly worthy laureates. Iggy Pop is unique, there is no one else quite like him. Ensemble intercontemporain are a ground-breaking collective and their work has helped push the boundaries of modern classical music. We’re thrilled that we can come together to honour and celebrate the important work of both of these Laureates.”
Iggy Pop said of the honor: “I was aware of the very fine range of people that had gotten the Polar Music Prize… so it’s a nice step for me. I respect it and I’m honoured by it… I’m looking forward to coming to Stockholm in May to receive the Prize.”
Matthias Pintscher, music director of Ensemble intercontemporain added: “I’m beyond excited to be coming to Stockholm in May to receive the Polar Music Prize in honour of the Ensemble intercontemporain.”
The awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday May 24 in Stockholm.