Punk legend Iggy Pop and Paris-based Ensemble intercontemporain win Polar Prize

Iggy Pop performing in New York in 2020.
Iggy Pop performing in New York in 2020. © Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images North America/AFP

US punk icon Iggy Pop and the  French contemporary music Ensemble intercontemporain founded in 1976 by Pierre Boulez  have won Sweden's Polar Music Prize.


"With his courage, initiative and raw power, Iggy Pop paved the way for punk and post-punk," the organisation said of 74-year-old Iggy Pop, born James Newell Osterberg.

 "Groups like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Nick Cave all followed in his footsteps".

"Iggy Pop is unique, there is no one else quite like him. Ensemble intercontemporain are a ground-breaking collective and their work has helped push the boundaries of modern classical music", Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said in a statement.

The organisation described the Ensemble intercontemporain, founded in 1976 by former Polar Music Prize laureate Pierre Boulez, as "the world's leading contemporary music ensemble".

Its musical director Matthias Pintscher, said that with 31 soloists, it's "not really a chamber orchestra," but it still makes it the "biggest ensemble for contemporary music in the world."

"It allows us to create a repertoire that is truly unique and really ours, basically tailored to the size and the needs of the ensemble," Pintscher said in a statement.

The Polar Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop superstars ABBA, and selects two or three laureates each year.

The award aims to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music".

The laureates of the 2022 Polar Music Prize will receive their award, which includes a one million kronor (96,000 euros) cash prize, at a ceremony in Stockholm on 24 May.

Past winners have included Paul McCartney, Grandmaster Flash, Metallica, the Afghan National Institute of Music, Sting, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and Dizzy Gillespie.

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