Steve Reich and Sonny Rollins Win 2007 Polar Music Prize

Classic Arts News   Steve Reich and Sonny Rollins Win 2007 Polar Music Prize
Two renowned American musicians, composer Steve Reich and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, have won the 2007 Polar Music Prize. The awards were announced yesterday at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm.

Reich is being honored, according to the award citation, for "his unique ability to use repeats, canon technique and minimal variation of patterns to develop an entire universe of evocative music, endowed with immediate tonal beauty."

Rollins's citation calls the saxophonist "one of the most powerful and personal voices in jazz for more than 50 years ... [who] has elevated the unaccompanied solo to the highest artistic level — characterised by a distinctive and powerful sound, irresistible swing and an individual musical sense of humor."

The two laureates will receive their awards — worth one million Swedish kronor (currently about €110,000 or $142,000) — from King Carl XVI Gustaf on May 21.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, publisher and manager of the Swedish pop band ABBA, and is given annually by the Royal Swedish Academy to one classical and one jazz or pop musician.

Reich, whose 70th birthday last year was celebrated with performances and honors all over the world, was awarded another major music prize last fall, Japan's Praemium Imperiale.

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