Patti Smith Earns Prestigious Swedish Music Prize

Punk goddess, singer-songwriter and Beat icon Patti Smith is to be awarded the highest accolade in Swedish music, the Polar Music Prize.

The BBC reports that Smith will be presented with the award in a ceremony in August. She is the latest winner of a prize whose previous winners Sir Paul McCartney, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and last year, Bjork and Ennio Morricone.

Two prizes are awarded each year (usually one for a rock act, one for a classical act), with avant garde San Francisco string ensemble Kronos Quartet joining Smith in 2011.

The Royal Swedish Music Academy praised 64-year-old Smith for “devoting her life to art in all its forms” and said, “Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock’n’roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock’n’roll… She has transformed the way an entire generation looks, thinks and dreams.”

Smith hasn’t released a studio album since 2007’s Twelve, although she did release a live album, The Coral Sea, in 2008. Her latest tome, a memoir entitled Just Kids, came out in 2010. It was previously reported in these pages that Smith will contribute to a new Buddy Holly tribute album.

The prize, worth one million kronor (AUD152,000) will be presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf on August 30.

The academy said of the Kronos Quartet, “For almost 40 years the Kronos Quartet has been revolutionising the potential of the string quartet genre when it comes to both style and content.”

The Polar Music Prize began in 1989 as the brainchild of Stig Anderson, the manager of ABBA.


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