The Polar Music Prize has been presented to Pink Floyd and American soprano Renée Fleming by His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at Stockholm Concert Hall.
Fleming was introduced by Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She then thanked the family of the late ABBA manager and award founder Stig Anderson, represented by daughter Marie Ledin and sons Lasse Anderson and Anders Anderson, as well as their spouses and Stig’s grandchildren.
“When I think of the legacy of singers in this country I’m humbled to be receiving this award here,” she said at the Aug. 26 ceremony.
Roger Waters and Nick Mason from Pink Floyd attended the ceremony and were brought to the stage by the Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who recalled being a 14-year old member of a student government in 1979 and having access to a stereo that was connected to his school’s public address system.
“Someone put on ‘We don’t need no education’ [‘Another Brick In The Wall Part II’],” he recalled, adding that as a parent he is now not so sure that was a good idea.
Mason thanked Marie Ledin and her husband Tomas “for getting us here, it’s been a struggle.” He added: “We are really honored.”
As Fleming had acknowledged her mother sitting in the audience, Waters said that his mother, a teacher, was 96. “Around the time of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley she was concerned when I took up rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “I hope in 30 years I am as engaged in my passion for rock ‘n’ roll and she is [still] in her passion for teaching.”
This year marked the 17th presentation of the Polar Music Prize, first awarded in 1992. Previous Polar Music Prize laureates include Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Elton John, Burt Bacharach, B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, Isaac Stern, Robert Moog and Gyorgy Ligeti.
The winners are chosen by a jury of 18, including working professionals from the Swedish music industry and three members of Stig Anderson’s family.