Nile Rodgers and Esa-Pekka Salonen Named 2024 Polar Music Prize Laureates

by Patria
Nile Rodgers

Renowned musician Nile Rodgers and acclaimed composer Esa-Pekka Salonen have been selected as the recipients of the 2024 Polar Music Prize. The prestigious award, often likened to the Nobel Prize of Music, recognizes outstanding contributions to the world of music.

The announcement was made that Nile Rodgers, the iconic figure from Chic and revered producer and songwriter, along with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the distinguished Finnish conductor, will be honored at a ceremony on May 21 in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Grand Hotel. The laureates will each receive prize money of one million Swedish Kroner, equivalent to approximately £75,000 and $94,000.

Expressing his gratitude, Nile Rodgers remarked, “This is a tremendous honor for me. I’ve had a love affair with the people of Sweden for as long as I can remember, and your early acknowledgment of the art of people of color, from Eric Dolphy to Jimi Hendrix, is very important to me. It’s particularly meaningful as so many of my favorite songwriters, from Bjorn and Benny to Max Martin and my dear friend the late Tim ‘Avicii’ Bergling, have changed music all over the world. I’m so looking forward to coming to Stockholm to receive this amazing award.”

Esa-Pekka Salonen, known for his directorship of the San Francisco Symphony and his roles with various prestigious orchestras, was lauded as an innovator by Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize. She emphasized his groundbreaking approach to composing and conducting, which has left an indelible mark on classical music.

Ledin further praised Nile Rodgers, hailing him as a ground-breaking pioneer whose influence in pop culture is immeasurable. She noted his co-founding of Chic and his extensive work as a record producer, crediting him with creating some of the world’s greatest music.

The Polar Music Prize, founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop icons ABBA, has honored music luminaries such as Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Sting, Joni Mitchell, and Iggy Pop in the past. The award recognizes both contemporary and classical musicians, with Beatles legend McCartney receiving the inaugural award in 1992.

The selection of Nile Rodgers and Esa-Pekka Salonen as the 2024 Polar Music Prize Laureates reaffirms their status as icons in the realms of contemporary and classical music, respectively.

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