Salonen joins Grammy Award-winning songwriter, composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist Nile Rodgers in the honor Award ceremony will take place on May 21 in Stockholm
San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen has been announced as a recipient of the 2024 Polar Music Prize; also named was Grammy Award-winning songwriter, composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Each Laureate will receive Prize money of one million Swedish Kroner (approximately $94,000). The 2024 Polar Music Prize will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family, taking place on Tuesday, May 21 in Stockholm at the Grand Hôtel. It will also be broadcast live in Sweden on TV4 at 8pm CET.   “I’m honored and excited to be one of the recipients of this year’s Polar Music Prize,” says Salonen. “Sweden has long been a musical home to me. Many of my fondest experiences—my years with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Baltic Sea Festival, and the Stockholm International Composer Festival—have taken place here. But it’s the people and culture of Sweden who deserve so much of my gratitude. Without the support of some of the leading cultural institutions of this country, especially the Swedish National Radio, my musical biography would be missing several key details. I’m very much looking forward to joining Nile Rodgers in Stockholm this spring to receive this illustrious prize.”   “Esa-Pekka Salonen is an innovator,” says Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize. “His artistic curiosity, creativity, and forward-thinking approach to composing and conducting paves the way in classical music. He is a master of tone, perfectly balancing sound and emotion to produce and lead music that deeply moves the listener.”    The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig “Stikkan” Anderson. Anderson was the publisher, lyricist, and manager of ABBA, and played a key role in their enormous success. The prize, named after Anderson’s record label Polar Music, celebrates the power and importance of music, and is awarded to individuals, groups, or institutions for international recognition of excellence.   The 2024 Laureates join a list of previous Awardees from all genres of music, such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Chuck Berry, Ennio Morricone, Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kronos Quartet, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Metallica, Iggy Pop, Ravi Shankar, Renée Fleming, Miriam Makeba, Wayne Shorter, Sofia Gubaidulina, Angélique Kidjo, and many more. The Polar Music Prize awards committee which selects the Laureates is an independent eleven-member board. It receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council, the UNESCO-founded NGO which promotes geographical and musical diversity.   It was recently announced that Salonen would lead the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) as orchestra-in-residence for the 2025 Salzburg Easter Festival. In addition to orchestral and choral concerts, Salonen and the FRSO will perform a new Simon McBurney production of Modest Mussorgsky’s sprawling—yet unfinished—opera Khovanshchina as a centerpiece for the 2025 festival programming. This performance will feature a specially created hybrid arrangement by Gerard McBurney, one which synthesizes Shostakovich’s 1958 arrangement with the ending from Stravinsky’s 1913 version. Fusing the two will be music informed by McBurney’s studies of Mussorgsky’s manuscripts, including a rediscovered page of sketches for the work’s ending.   Earlier this month, Salonen premiered a first-of-its-kind performance of Scriabin’s Prometheus, the Poem of Fire with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Cartier head perfumer Mathilde Laurent, and the San Francisco Symphony. This performance expanded Scriabin’s already-synesthetic score with bespoke fragrances created by Laurent in response to Scriabin’s music. The result blended sound, light, color, and scent, using today’s technology to realize Scriabin’s multisensory vision. Prometheus will be the subject of a documentary produced by Mezzo in association with Cartier; it will be broadcast on Mezzo TV and online at Medici TV beginning this September.