British rock star Sting and American jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter were on Tuesday awarded the 2017 Swedish Polar Music Prize for their innovative contributions to music.
The prestigious award was founded in 1989 by Swedish pop group ABBA’s late manager and lyricist, Stig Andersson.
Previous winners include artists ranging from rock and pop to classical categories such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Bjork, Ennio Morricone and Yo-Yo Ma.
The prize honours two laureates every year to “celebrate music in all its various forms” and “to break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.”
“I still maintain a childlike curiosity about music, along with a sense that I constantly need to work at it. So to be recognised in this way is truly meaningful,” 65-year-old Sting said in a statement released by the committee.
The jury described Sting as “a true citizen of the world”.
“As a composer, Sting has combined classical pop with virtuoso
musicianship and an openness to all genres and sounds from around the world,” it said.
The singer of “Shape of My Heart” and “Fields of Gold” is known for
promoting human rights through his music. In November, he performed at the reopening of the Paris concert hall where jihadists massacred 90 people the year before.
Sting won international recognition as a member of the rock group The Police, which released its hit song “Roxanne” in 1979 and “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” the following year.
Shorter, who describes his work as “drilling for wisdom”, is a saxophonist who has worked with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet and Weather Report.
“With his soprano and tenor saxophones he is an explorer. Over the course of an extraordinary career he has constantly sought out untravelled paths,” the committee said.
The 83-year-old Shorter, who said he would come to Stockholm to accept the prize, said the honour was “another great adventure for me, during a life where I’ve always chosen the trail less travelled because it always takes you to more interesting discoveries.”
Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf will hand over the prizes to Sting and Shorter during a ceremony at Stockholm’s Concert Hall on June 15.
Each winner of the prize receives one million kronor ($113,000, 105,000 euros). Reports AFP, Stockholm.