Soprano Fleming, Pink Floyd nab Swedish music awards

Wed May 21, 2008 4:40pm EDT
 
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - British rock band Pink Floyd and American soprano Renee Fleming were awarded Sweden's annual Polar Music Prize on Wednesday, joining an eclectic group of winners including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Quincy Jones and Joni Mitchell.

The group and the opera singer will receive cash prizes of 1 million Swedish crowns ($169,500) each at a ceremony held in Stockholm on August 26, a Polar Prize spokeswoman said.

The award, given each year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, is the country's biggest music prize. It was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA.

The prize committee lauded the 49-year-old soprano's beautiful voice and astounding clarity.

"Connoisseurs and the broader audience alike fall for her soft, natural singing technique," the committee said.

A two-time Grammy winner, Fleming has performed in opera houses worldwide since her debut more than 20 years ago.

The committee said Pink Floyd, founded in the 1960s, had contributed widely to the development of popular culture, bringing together art and music.

"Pink Floyd captured and shaped the reflections and attitudes of a whole generation," the committee said, noting the band's often somber, experimental works.

The prize is normally split between two musicians in different genres, such as pop or jazz and classical. Composer Steve Reich and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins won last year's awards.

Previous winners also include violinist Isaac Stern, rock musician Bruce Springsteen, Romanian composer Gyorgy Ligeti and rock band Led Zeppelin.

Reuters/Nielsen

 
<p>Pink Floyd member Roger Waters performs during the Live Earth New York concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey July 7, 2007. Pink Floyd and American soprano Renee Fleming were awarded Sweden's annual Polar Music Prize on Wednesday, joining an eclectic group of winners including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Quincy Jones and Joni Mitchell. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>