Polar Music Prize Names Three Winners for 2023
Composer Arvo Pärt, record producer Chris Blackwell, and singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo will be honored at the ceremony in Stockholm on May 23
Established in 1989 by former ABBA manager Stig Anderson, the Polar Music Prize carries a value of 600,000 Swedish kronor (approximately $58,000 USD) and is awarded annually to recognize exceptional achievement in music.
The 2023 recipients of Sweden's Polar Music Prize are the composer Arvo Pärt, the businessman and record producer Chris Blackwell, and the singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo.
At 87 years old, the Estonian Arvo Pärt holds the distinction of being the world's most-performed living composer. Stylistically, Pärt's work draws strongly on minimalist influences and incorporates the sound worlds of Gregorian chant and the Orthodox church.
"The Polar Music Prize is a very prestigious and important accolade for a composer," said Arvo Pärt. "I am very touched and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The English businessman Chris Blackwell founded Island Records in Jamaica in 1959. Blackwell is credited with being the person who was able to give reggae music a profile beyond Jamaica, popularizing it throughout the world. Island Records launched the careers of a number of artists, including Bob Marley, U2, and Grace Jones.
Five-time GRAMMY Award winner Angélique Kidjo has recorded sixteen albums, both as a performer and as a songwriter. Her music is influenced by the West African traditions from Benin and fuses this style with elements of American R&B, funk, and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America.
"We are delighted to honor these three Laureates who have all made such a global impact with their music," said Marie Ledin, the managing director of the Polar Music Prize.
"Angélique Kidjo is an inspirational artist, she constantly explores and challenges and is one of the greatest singer-songwriters in international music. We are thrilled to be recognizing her talent and shining a light on her important work with the Batonga Foundation."
"Chris Blackwell founded and built Island Records into one of the most successful labels in music history. He has had a huge influence on the world of music and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this."
"Arvo Pärt is one of the most incredible composers the world has ever seen, and his beautiful music has touched audiences around the globe. We are so happy to honor him as part of the 2023 Polar Music Prize."
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