Saxophonist Wayne Shorter and singer-songwriter Sting have been named the 2017 Polar Music Prize Laureates.
The prize, which has been called the “Nobel Prize of Music” in Sweden, was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of ABBA, with a donation to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. It is annually given to one contemporary musician and one classical musician without any restriction of nationality, for their “significant achievements in music and/or musical activity, or for achievements which are found to be of great potential importance for music or musical activity,” and is “referable to all fields within or closely connected with music.”
Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “In Sting and Wayne Shorter we have two Laureates whose music continues to move, enthrall and influence millions of music fans around the world. Both are true music legends and embody the spirit of the Polar Music Prize.”
Shorter, who first traveled to Sweden in 1959 as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, expressed his delight in returning to the country to accept this award: “[Sweden is] a country that has produced some great musicians and composers who have inspired the world. It’s another great adventure for me, during a life where I’ve always chosen the trail less traveled because it always takes you to more interesting discoveries.”
Previous recipients of the Polar Music Prize include Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach, B.B. King and Sonny Rollins.