Dame Evelyn Glennie and Emmylou Harris Honored At The 2015 Polar Prize

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Emmylou Harris, 13-time Grammy winner, and Dame Evelyn Glennie, the virtuoso percussionist, were honored today at the 2015 Polar Music Prize; considered to be the world's most prestigious music accolade.

Emmylou Harris, 13-time Grammy winner, and Dame Evelyn Glennie, the virtuoso percussionist, were honored today as this year’s Laureates of the Polar Music Prize, the world’s most prestigious music accolade. The Laureates were presented with their awards by His Majesty King Carl XVI of Sweden at Stockholm’s Concert Hall. President Barak Obama, Bruce and Patti Springsteen among congratulatory messages to Laureates            

Dame Evelyn Glennie said, “I never imagined I’d receive an award as important and symbolic as the Polar Music Prize. It’s an institution that brings together people of all kinds, whatever their culture, age or beliefs, in a celebration of music’s power and diversity. I want to thank tonight’s superb organizers, the Swedish people for their hospitality and of course the prize committee for awarding me this prize.”

Dame Evelyn, the world’s first full-time classical percussionist, was accompanied at the ceremony by her mother and percussion teacher from her school in Scotland, their first meeting in over 25 years.

Emmylou Harris said, “I am so grateful for this prestigious honor that I share with Dame Evelyn Glennie, as we take our place in the long illustrious line of artists who have received this award before us. To live and work doing what you love is a reward unto itself, but to be acknowledged for that work, as I am tonight, is something I could never have imagined, and I am truly humbled.”

President Barak Obama sent a special message to the Laureates which was read aloud by American Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Mark Brzezinski. President Barak Obama said, “With ingenuity and vision, artists create pieces that carry forward the belief that no matter where we are from or what language we speak, we can open our minds to similar ideas – reminding us that one note can touch us all."

Bruce Springsteen (a Polar Music Prize Laureate in 1997) and Patti Scialfa-Springsten, friends of Emmylou Harris, also sent their message of congratulations: “Congratulations on the Polar Music Prize - well deserved. And thank you for gracing our songs with your voice over the years. You are our American treasure. We love you."
Marie Ledin, Managing Director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “In Evelyn Glennie and Emmylou Harris, the Foundation has chosen two exceptional Laureates for this year’s Polar Music Prizes: both represent the spirit of the Award that my father envisioned when he founded the Prize 26 years ago. We are delighted to honor Evelyn Glennie and Emmylou Harris and pay tribute to their exceptional music careers.”

Previous Laureates include Peter Sellars, Chuck Berry, Sir Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Sir Elton John, Kronos Quartet, Ravi Shankar, Renee Fleming, Bob Dylan, Yossou N’Dour, Patti Smith, Pink Floyd, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Led Zepplin, Bjork and Ennio Morricone. The Laureates each receive a cash prize of one million Swedish Krona, as well as the Award, designed by leading Scandinavian jeweler Efva Attling,

The Polar Music Prize, the equivalent for music of the Nobel Prize, was founded by Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, 26 years ago. Anderson, who was the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, named the prize after his legendary record label Polar Music and created it to ‘break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all different worlds of music.’

Evelyn Glennie citation:
The Polar Music Prize 2015 is awarded to percussionist Evelyn Glennie from Aberdeen, Scotland. Evelyn Glennie, who has been deaf since the age of twelve, has a mission to teach the world to listen. She has widened our understanding of what music is and shown us that listening is only partly to do with our ears. Everyone, whatever their physical circumstances, can perceive and perform music, can feel and convey good vibrations. In her home country of the United Kingdom, she has changed the criteria for acceptance by music schools, has been honored by the Queen for her efforts and had a key role in the opening of the Olympic Games in London in 2012. As a musician, she is one of very few who have successfully made a career as a solo percussionist. She has played with the world's foremost orchestras, conductors and artists and has released more than 30 solo albums.

Emmylou Harris citation:
The Polar Music Prize 2015 is awarded to Emmylou Harris from Birmingham, Alabama. No one in the history of popular music has harmonized like Emmylou Harris. For five decades she has embellished other artists' recordings by adding vocal parts that did not exist in the melodies. But it is as an artist in her own right that she has made the greatest contribution. The music of Emmylou Harris contains the history and topography of the entire American continent. Her voice follows the contours of the American landscape, from the highest peaks to the endless prairie. Emmylou Harris has also used her position as a musician to work for feminism, animal rights and the care of people affected by war.

The board of the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation includes representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society). The task of accepting nominations submitted and selecting the Laureates is undertaken by an Award Committee comprised of experienced members of the music industry, representatives from the Anderson family, musicians, and previous Laureates.

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