Kronos Quartet Receives Esteemed Polar Prize from King of Sweden
30 August 2011 — SAN FRANCISCO: It is one of the most prestigious awards in the artistic universe: The Polar Music Prize (www.polarmusicprize.org). Today, San Francisco’s own Kronos Quartet (www.kronosquartet.org) receives the honor in a ceremony in Stockholm, presented by their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden.
“There is no more prestigious cultural honor in Sweden than the Polar Prize, and no greater example of American culture than San Francisco’s own Kronos Quartet,” said Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher. “As a Swede and a San Franciscan, I am doubly proud of this year’s award.”
A source for the paintings, reflected in the show’s title, is the legacy of noted naturalist painter John James Audubon whose depictions of birds and nature have become iconic and almost sacred. Interestingly, however, Audubon never traveled further West than the Mississippi Valley. He relied for his depictions of Western species on specimens procured for him and shipped stiff and lifeless.The Polar Music Prize carries a monetary value equivalent to approximately $155,000 ($1m Swedish Kronor). Receiving the 2011 Polar Music Prize along with Kronos Quartet is singer/ songwriter/poet Patti Smith. The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, publisher, lyricist and manager of the legendary pop group ABBA and is endowed by the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation. Previous Laureates include Björk, Pierre Boulez, Bob Dylan, Renée Fleming, Valery Gergiev, B. B. King, György Ligeti, Miriam Makeba, Joni Mitchell, Steve Reich, Sonny Rollins, Ravi Shankar, Isaac Ste rn, and a host of others representing a wide range of countries, cultures and continents.
“Wanting to give Western birds their due, I conceived of fleshing out the visual record,” says Long. “Plus, I also wanted to introduce elements of contemporary ecological awareness, the history of humankind’s impact on nature, and possibly a bit of allegory.”“For almost 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has been revolutionizing the potential of the string quartet genre when it comes to both style and content,” reads the Polar Music Prize citation. “The same type of chamber music ensemble—two violins, a viola and a cello—for which Mozart and Beethoven wrote can also be used to comment on international politics, interpret avant-garde rock and incorporate music from every corner of the world.”
The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, publisher, lyricist and manager of the legendary pop group ABBA. Previous laureates include Björk, Steve Reich, Joni Mitchell, Pierre Boulez, Bob Dylan, Renée Fleming, Valery Gergiev, B. B. King, György Ligeti, Miriam Makeba, Sonny Rollins, Ravi Shankar, Isaac Stern, and a host of others representing a wide range of countries, cultures, and continents.
The celebrations for Polar Music Prize Week 2011 began last Thursday with the opening of the Polar Music Prize Exhibition at Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården. The outdoor exhibition features photos of previous Polar Music Prize Laureates taken by photographer Baldur Bragason and runs till tomorrow.
The Honorary Consulate General of Sweden in San Francisco represents Sweden in California. Its mission is to provide assistance to Swedes and to promote Swedish interests in the Bay Area. In addition to handling passport and consular issues, the Consulate facilitates exchange between Sweden and the U.S., organizes and promotes events and provides information about Sweden and Swedish activities in California. www.www.swedenabroad.com/sanfrancisco. In November, the Consulate will sponsor a celebration marking the 110th birthday of Sweden’s Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize, honoring the Nobel Laureates of California.