Every year since 1992, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music has awarded 1 million Swedish crowns -- about US$115,000 -- to people and organizations who have furthered the world of music. The Polar Music Prize was created by Stig Anderson, lyricist and manager for ABBA; the name "Polar" is taken from Stig's record label.

Recipients are not "discoveries," but established musicians with thick resumes. They range from pop icons with serious compositional merits to modern-classical composers and experimentalists:

2001 - Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen
2000 - Isaac Stern and Bob Dylan
1999 - Iannis Xenakis and Stevie Wonder
1998 - Ravi Shankar and Ray Charles
1997 - Eric Ericson and Bruce Springsteen
1996 - Joni Mitchell and Pierre Boulez
1995 - Mstislav Rostropovitch and Elton John
1994 - Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Quincy Jones
1993 - Witold Lutoslawski and Dizzy Gillespie
1992 - Paul McCartney and The Baltic States

(Jazz fans: Contrast with the MacArthur Fellowships, which have gone to the likes of Max Roach, Ornette Coleman and Ken Vandermark.)

Note that organizations are eligible -- "The Baltic States" refers to the Baltic States, which were awarded "to encourage them in their work for protection of copyright."

The King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustav, presents the award himself in May; the event is televised from Berwaldhallen, Stockholm.


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