$135,000 Polar Music Prize Presented in Stockholm

Classic Arts News   $135,000 Polar Music Prize Presented in Stockholm
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf presented the 2005 Polar Music Prize at a gala ceremony yesterday at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

This year's winners, baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Brazilian singer, guitarist, and composer Gilberto Gil, were announced in October 2004.

The 80-year-old Fischer-Dieskau is ailing and was unable to attend the ceremony, according to Sweden's The Local. His nephew Thomas Fischer Dieskau accepted the prize on his behalf.

The 14-year-old annual prize, which is usually awarded to a classical musician and a pop or jazz musician, is the world's biggest music prize, at one million Swedish kroners, or approximately $135,000. Founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, the late publisher and manager of the pop group ABBA, it recognizes a lifetime of musical achievement.

Fischer-Dieskau was generally acknowledged as the world's leading performer of the German lied, with a particular command of Schubert, until he retired from performance in 1993. He continues to conduct, write, and teach.

The singer was honored, according to the offical citation from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, for his "unique artistry in every area of classical singing and for his unparalleled achievements as a penetrating and innovative interpreter of art songs in the German language."

Gil helped to found Brazil's Tropicšlia movement, which blended traditional bossa nova, rock, and political feeling.

In its citation of Gil, the Academy recognized "his unflinching creative engagement in bringing to the world the heart and soul of the rich music of Brazil," and called him "a unique composer powered by immense talent and curiosity. A unique musical ambassador powered by firm cultural conviction."

Previous winners of the Polar Music Prize have included Dizzy Gillespie, Pierre Boulez, Isaac Stern, Bruce Springsteen, and Sofia Gubaidulina. The 2004 winners were blues guitarist B. B. King and composer Gy‹rgy Ligeti.

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