The winners of the Polar Music Prize, The Royal Swedish Academy of Music Award, for
2004 were unveiled on Wednesday the 15th of October 2003 at The Royal Swedish Academy
of Music in Stockholm. The Chairman of the Board and Award Committee, Mr. Åke Holmquist,
read the Award Committee’s citations.
“The Polar Music Prize for 2004 is being awarded to the American composer, singer and
performer Riley B King for his significant contributions to the blues. King’s total dedication
to his music, a rich recording history and tireless touring lasting more than half a century have
made him one of the most prominent figures within the blues. Through his achievements in
spreading the blues throughout the world, he has, as a leading proponent of his music,
proved of fundamental importance to the development of modern popular music.”
During the announcement at the Academy, a short film with live performances of B. B. King
was shown and pianist Mr. Fredrik Ullén played Ligeti’s “Etudes no. 13, L´escalier du diable”.
The prizewinners will receive the prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a
gala ceremony in Stockholm to be followed by a celebratory banquet at Grand Hôtel on Monday
the 24th of May. Her Majesty Queen Silvia and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria will
be amongst the many other dignitaries attending.
As from 2004, the prizegiving ceremony will be held at the Stockholm Concert Hall,
which is also where the Nobel Prize ceremony takes place.
The event, which is broadcast on national television (TV4), attracts international media,
members of the international music business, celebrities, artists, musicians, government
ministers, politicians and other leading members of society and industry.
On Saturday the 22nd of May, B. B. King will, together with the eight
members of his band, perform at the Stockholm Concert Hall.
It is the intention to continue with the successful collaboration with the Stockholm Cultural Centre
(Kulturhuset) in organising a “Polar Music Prize Week” of activities culminating in the prizegiving.
This project has now been enhanced with the participation of NGO for assisting in the development
and economic growth of Greater Stockholm, “Sydväxt”.
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson who was one of the true
greats in the music industry. As the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, he played a key role
in their enormous success.
Stig Anderson made a generous donation to The Royal Swedish Academy of Music with the
aim of creating what was to become known as the Polar Music Prize. This is also why the prize
is administered within the Academy.
It is an international music prize and awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition
of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music. The prize breaks down
musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.
It is completely independent of commercial interests, thereby guaranteeing its integrity.
Sir Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Witold Lutoslawski, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Quincy Jones,
Mstislav Rostropovitch, Sir Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Pierre Boulez, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Ericson,
Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar, Iannis Xenakis, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Isaac Stern, Burt Bacharach,
Robert Moog, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sofia Gubaidulina, Miriam Makeba and Keith Jarrett are the
individuals who have been bestowed with the prize since its inception in 1992. In 1992, the Baltic
States were also awarded the prize to encourage them in their work for protection of copyright.
The prize is now in its thirteenth year and is awarded in the amount of one million Swedish
Crowns (approximately equivalent to US$ 125.000 or € 110.000) tooooo each prizewinner.
More info at polarmusicprize.com.