STOCKHOLM (AP) — Italian opera singer Cecilia Bartoli who brought back “long-lost music” to listeners and Swedish hit songwriter Max Martin have won the 2016 Polar Music Prize, the prize committee said Wednesday.
They will be invited to accept the award, which includes 1 million kronor ($120,000) each in prize money, at a ceremony in Stockholm in June.
Max Martin, whose real name is Martin Sandberg, has written and produced a string of songs for various artists, including Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time”, and hits for Katy Perry, Pink and the Backstreet Boys.
Describing the Stockholm-born artist as “one of the most gifted song writers of modern times” together with John Lennon and the first Polar Music laureate Paul McCartney in 1992, the panel said that “no composer in the world has written melodies as sustainable and widespread” in the past 20 years.
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“Right now, at this very moment, someone, somewhere in the world will be singing a hit song written and produced by Max Martin,” the citation said.
Bartoli, a mezzo-soprano from Rome with a vocal range of three octaves who has sung in the world’s leading opera houses was cited for “a unique ability to live a role with fullness of expression” and developing singing as an art form.
The prize panel said she was not content with the well-known repertoire and “dug deeply into the history of music and presented long-lost music from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that is completely new to today’s audiences.”
The Polar Music Prize is Sweden’s biggest music award and is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician. It was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA.
Last year’s award went to singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris and Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie.