The Polar Music Prize Announces the 2019 Laureates

The Polar Music Prize Announces the 2019 Laureates

The Polar Music Prize, one of the world's most prestigious music awards, now in its 28th year, has announced that the 2019 Laureates are hip hop pioneer Joseph Saddler, known as Grandmaster Flash, queen of the violin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the music charity The Playing For Change Foundation, part of the Playing For Change movement. Each Laureate receives prize money of one million Swedish Kronor. (approx. GB £86,000 / US $110,000). The Awards will be presented at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm's Grand Hôtel by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Tuesday 11 June. The event will be broadcast live on Swedish national television (TV4) at 8pm CET and can be viewed throughout Europe via TV4 Play.

Joseph Saddler, aka Grandmaster Flash, said: "It is such an honour, because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked. So for these people to say, lets give this to someone who doesn't necessarily use a microphone as their gift...for me to be picked out of so many people, I am so, so deeply honoured."

Anne-Sophie Mutter said: "It is a huge honour to be in this illustrious group of musicians who have received the Polar Music Prize. I'm deeply honoured and humbled and I can't wait to come to Stockholm and meet the other recipients."

Whitney Kroenke, co-founder of The Playing For Change Foundation, said: "This is incredibly humbling and mind-blowing - we are ecstatic. We started the project so that musicians that would not otherwise be seen or heard, would have the chance to express themselves and be recognised. To be in the company of people that have made us all love music for so many years, is truly an honour."


Grandmaster Flash is one of the undisputed pioneers of hip hop, a genre of music that is the dominant force in 21st century popular music; he is rightly heralded as a hip hop virtuoso. Joseph Saddler, known as Grandmaster Flash emerged from the Bronx in the early 1970's and was one of the first to manipulate music by placing his fingers on the vinyl, perfecting beat looping and discovering many of the iconic beats still commonly sampled today. He is a musician, a scientist, a storyteller and a cultural tour de force.



Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical phenomenon. For more than 40 years the German violinist has thrilled audiences around the world with her virtuosity and astonishing clarity. The four-time Grammy Award winner is equally committed to the performance of traditional and modern composers, to date she has played the world premieres of 26 works, and has had many pieces composed for her. As well as a packed international concert calendar, Anne-Sophie Mutter dedicates herself to numerous benefit projects and through her two charitable institutions supports future generations of musicians.

The Playing For Change Foundation was founded in 2007 'to inspire, create positive change, connect and bring peace to the world through music.' The foundation has now grown to fifteen music programs around the world. Every week, 2,000 young people attend classes in multiple disciplines of music and arts education funded by the foundation. So far over 15,000 people have been impacted by The Playing For Change Foundation.

Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said:

"We are delighted to honour three Laureates this year, only the second time we've done so in our 28 year history. In Grandmaster Flash, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Playing For Change, we have three spectacular Laureates; we are all looking forward to welcoming them to Stockholm and paying tribute to their work and talent at the award ceremony on 11 June."

The Polar Music Prize Award Committee is an independent 11-member Award Committee which selects the Laureates. The committee receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council, the UNESCO founded NGO which promotes geographical and musical diversity.

Announcement videos, publicity shots and biographies are available on the website www.polarmusicprize.org.

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