Sting and Wayne Shorter are the Laureates for this year’s Polar Music Prize, a Swedish award founded by ABBA manager Stig Anderson in 1989 “celebrating the power and importance of music.” Per Reuters, each winner receives 1 million Swedish crowns, the equivalent of $113,000.
The Polar committee issued a statement explaining their picks, starting with Sting:
The 2017 Polar Music Prize is awarded to the singer, musician and composer Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, from Wallsend in Northumberland. Sting grew up in a shipyard town in northeastern England. As a child his thoughts and dreams roamed as far as the ships that sailed from his town. Internal and external travel has also characterised his music. As a member of the trio The Police, and later as a solo artist, Sting has never sat back and rested on his laurels; he has put down his anchor in more musical harbours than perhaps any other artist of his generation. As a composer, Sting has combined classic pop with virtuoso musicianship and an openness to all genres and sounds from around the world. Sting is a true citizen of the world, who has also been indefatigable in using his position as an arena-filling artist to promote human rights.
And here’s what they wrote about Shorter, the American saxophonist and composer known for his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet, and Weather Report:
The 2017 Polar Music Prize is awarded to musician and composer Wayne Shorter from Newark, New Jersey. For Wayne Shorter, music is a means of learning more about all aspects of life and the universe. He has himself aptly described his work as “drilling for wisdom”. With his soprano and tenor saxophones he is an explorer. Over the course of an extraordinary career, he has constantly sought out untravelled paths. Wayne Shorter has worked in epoch-making groups such as Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet and Weather Report. He has played on many key albums with Joni Mitchell. As a solo artist he has been making albums for six decades, and he has written a number of the most enduring compositions in the history of jazz. Without the musical explorations of Wayne Shorter, modern music would not have drilled so deep.
They also created a video for each artist: