Composer/musician Steve Reich and legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins have been chosen as the 2007 recipients of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s highest honor, the Polar Music Prize. The American music legends were selected for their individual contributions to music on an international level, and join previous recipients ranging from B.B. King and Joni Mitchell to Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Witold Lutoslawki.
Reich was lauded for “[transferring] questions of faith, society and philosophy into a hypnotic sounding music that has inspired musicians and composers of all genres.” Of Rollins, the Academy notes, he “has elevated the unaccompanied solo to the highest artistic level … [he is] the greatest remaining master from one of jazz’s seminal eras.”
Awarded annually since 1992, the prize was established in 1989 by Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, publisher, lyricist, and manager of the Swedish pop group ABBA. Although it typically honors individual musicians, in its first year the prize was awarded to the collective entity of the Baltic States, “to encourage them in their work for protection of copyright,” according to the official Polar Music Prize website.
Polar Music Price official website
Steve Reich’s official website
Steve Reich on AllMusic.com
Sonny Rollins’ official website
Sonny Rollins on AllMusic.com