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Peter Gabriel shares Polar Music Prize

Peter Gabriel

Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BRITISH musician and songwriter Peter Gabriel and Venezuelan composer Jose Antonio Abreu have won the 2009 Polar Music Prize. Sweden’s biggest music award, it is split between pop and classical musicians.

The pair, who will each receive one million kroner (£84,000) from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, will be presented with their awards by King Carl XVl Gustaf at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on August 31.

The former Genesis singer was praised by the prize committee for his “ground-breaking, outward-looking and boundary-busting artistry.” They also thought he “not only had a significant influence on the development of popular music – he has redefined the very concept.”

Abreu, who founded an innovative youth education method in which music was the primary avenue for social and intellectual improvement, was praised for his work which “shows us what is possible when music is made the common ground and thereby part of people’s everyday lives.”

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, the manager of Swedish pop group ABBA.

Previous winners include Sir Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Sir Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Ravi Shankar, Led Zeppelin and, in 2008, British rock group Pink Floyd and US soprano Renee Fleming.