Youssou N’Dour and Kaija Saariaho Awarded The Polar Music Prize 2013

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STOCKHOLM, August 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour and Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho today received the 2013 Polar Music Prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

The Award of one million Swedish kronor ($145 000) each was handed over by the King together with specially made paintings by Swedish artist Jens Fänge. Citations were read by Swedish football player Henrik Larsson and Finnish mezzo soprano Lilli Paasikivi.

Among the artists who celebrated the Laureates were Neneh Cherry and Carlou D who performed Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry’s 1994 hit “7 Seconds”. Swedish soprano Hanna Husáhr performed two pieces by Kaija Saariaho together with The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1991 by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, the musical entrepreneur and manager behind ABBA. The Prize is awarded to two individuals, groups or institutions – in different musical fields – in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music.

“Our dad liked to say, ‘Music has no boundaries, it touches, influences and changes the world’”, says Marie Ledin, daughter of Stig Anderson and Managing Director of the Polar Music Prize.

Among the 44 Laureates since 1992 are Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles and Ravi Shankar.

Quote from the Kaija Saariaho Citation:

“Kaija Saariaho is a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love”
Quote from the Youssou N’Dour Citation:

“His voice encompasses an entire continent’s history and future, blood and love, dreams and power.”

Full citations and biographies and a list of all the Laureates since 1992 can be found at: To see the ceremony:

The celebration continues this evening with a banquet at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm with celebrity guests such as the Swedish Royal Family, ministers of the Swedish Government, legendary U.S. music entrepreneur Seymour Stein, Polar Music Prize Laureate of 2006 John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences in 1990 William F. Sharpe, Bianca Jagger of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and many more from the arts, music and cultural industries.

For further information please contact:
Sandra Nordin +46-70-697-39-59
Tanja Määttä +46-72-360-97-17