Led Zeppelin and conductor/artistic director Valery Gergiev were awarded the 15th annual Polar Music Prize on Monday (May 22) by His Majesty King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden.
The prestigious prize was presented during a nationally televised ceremony from Konserthuset, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert hall, where the annual Nobel Prize ceremony is held.
The recipients were awarded one million Swedish kronor ($137,680) each from a donation made by the late Stig “Stikkan” Anderso — ABBA’s publisher, manager and co-lyricist — who established the prize in 1989.
“It’s been more than 25 years since Led Zeppelin played; it’s also 27 years since we recorded our last album here in Stockholm at the Polar Studios,” Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant commented at the ceremony.
The Polar Music Prize is awarded annually based on nominations submitted by the board of the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation, consisting of representatives from his family, the Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers and the Swedish Performing Rights Society.
The ceremony featured performances by the Soundtrack of our Lives, Nina Persson of the Cardigans, Maja Iversson of the Sounds, mezzo soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Mikhail Agrest.
Leading up the ceremony, the Swedish capital hosted the traditional Polar Music Prize Week program of events, encompassing exhibitions, forums, film screenings and tribute performances.
Previous winners of the prize include Sir Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Isaac Stern, Burt Bacharach, Robert Moog, Miriam Makeba and Keith Jarrett.