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2019 Polar Music Prize Laureates announced

DJ, Grandmaster Flash, violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Playing for Change Foundation have been announced as 2019 Polar Music Prize Laureates

DJ and musician, Grandmaster Flash, violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Playing for Change Foundation have been announced as 2019 Polar Music Prize Laureates, taking home prize money of one million Swedish Kronor each.

The Awards will be presented at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Tuesday 11 June 2019.

The event will be broadcast live on Swedish national television (TV4) at 8pm CET and can be viewed throughout Europe via TV4 Play.

About the 2019 Polar Music Prize Laureates

Grandmaster Flash

DJ and musician, Joseph Saddler, known as Grandmaster Flash, was born in Barbados and raised in the South Bronx, New York.

His Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel changed the course of popular music, demonstrating that turntables and mixing consoles can be musical instruments.

Some 40 years later, the musical form and the hip hop culture that Grandmaster Flash helped to create in the ruins of the South Bronx in the mid-1970s has grown into the largest music genre, hip hop, in the United States and the world.

Joseph Saddler, Grandmaster Flash, said:

‘It is such an honour because, a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked. So for these people to say, let’s give this to someone who doesn’t necessarily use a microphone as their gift… for me to be picked out of so many people, I am so, so deeply honoured.’


Anne-Sophie Mutter

Anne-Sophie Mutter © Bastian Achard
Anne-Sophie Mutter © Bastian Achard

German violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter, known as ‘the Queen of the Violin’, grew up in a small village in the Black Forest.

At the age of 13, she auditioned for Herbert von Karajan and, the following year, started playing with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Several of the world’s foremost modern composers have written music especially for Anne-Sophie Mutter. With a passionate commitment to justice, she demonstrates the power and key role of music in the world.

Anne-Sophie Mutter said:

‘It is a huge honour to be in this illustrious group of musicians who have received the Polar Music Prize. I’m deeply honoured and humbled and I can’t wait to come to Stockholm and meet the other recipients.’


Playing For Change Foundation

Playing for Change Foundation's Star School music programme
Playing for Change Foundation’s Star School music programme

The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to providing music and arts education for underprivileged children around the world.

In 2002, co-founders, Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, created the Playing For Change movement from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. The organisation established the Foundation in 2007 as a way to give back to the communities of the musicians they met along their journey. Since then, it has grown into a global project with 15 music schools and programmes around the world that have had an impact on the lives of over 15,000 children and their surrounding communities.

The Playing For Change Foundation shows how music can be used to inspire, build bridges between people and create positive change and conditions for peace.

Whitney Kroenke, Co-Founder, Playing For Change, said:

‘This is incredibly humbling and mind-blowing – we are ecstatic. We started the project so that musicians that would not otherwise be seen or heard would have the chance to express themselves and be recognised. To be in the company of people that have made us all love music for so many years is truly an honour.’


Header photo: Grandmaster Flash is one of this year’s Polar Music Prize Laureates © Grandmaster Flash Enterprises