Patti Gets Polar Prize

American punk poet Patti Smith has been named as one of the winners of this year’s Polar Music Prize, which will be presented at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall Aug. 30.

The following day, Smith and her band will play a special concert Live Nation Sweden is promoting at the same venue.

Sharing the award, which will be handed over by Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf XVI, is the Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco-based classical quartet founded by violinist David Harrington in 1973.

The Polar Music Prize attracts international media, members of the international music business, celebrities, artists, musicians, government ministers, politicians and leading members of society and industry.

The winners also share a cash prize of 1 million Swedish krona ($165,514).

Smith’s citation, which describes her as “a Rimbaud with Marshall amps,” says she’s devoted her life to art in all its forms.

“Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock ’n’ roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock ’n’ roll,” it says. “She has transformed the way an entire generation looks, thinks and dreams. With her inimitable soul of an artist, Patti Smith proves over and over again that people have the power.”

The Kronos Quartet’s citation says it’s been revolutionizing the potential of the string quartet genre in terms of style and content.

“The same type of chamber music ensemble – two violins, a viola and a cello – for which Mozart and Beethoven wrote can also be used to comment on international politics, interpret avant-garde rock and incorporate music from every corner of the world,” it says.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, a legend in the history of Swedish popular music, who was a publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA. The name of the prize stems from his Polar Music record label.

It’s an international music prize awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music.

The board of the Polar Music Prize Foundation consists of representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society).

The task of scrutinizing nominations submitted and selecting the ultimate Laureates is done by The Polar Music Award Committee, comprising internationally renowned artists and musicians as well as other key figures in the Swedish music industry.

The list of previous winners includes Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Mstislav Rostropovich, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach and Robert Moog.

In 1992 McCartney shared the prize with the Baltic States, which were given the award to encourage their work for protection of copyright.