Bjork, Italian composer Morricone win Polar Music Prize

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The Independent Culture

Icelandic singer Bjork and Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone on Monday won the 2010 Polar Music Prize for their contributions to music, organisers in Sweden said.

The winners will receive one million kronor (104,000 euros, 128,000 dollars) each at a ceremony in Stockholm hosted by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf on August 30.

The prize committee hailed Bjork for "her deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice," which "has already made an indelible mark on pop music and modern culture at large."

"No other artist moves so freely between avant-garde and pop ... (She) is an untamable force of nature, an artist who marches to nobody's tune but her own," it added.

The 44-year-old Icelandic singer, songwriter, musician and actress began her career in Reykjavik in 1977 at the age of 11, and broke onto the international scene in the 1980s as the lead vocalist with KUKL, which morphed into Sugarcubes.

She established herself as a solo artist with "Debut", in 1993, and has since recorded five other solo albums.

Bjork also won Best Actress Award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for her lead role in "Dancer in the Dark", and was nominated for an Oscar for her song "I've Seen it All", which she composed alongside the soundtrack to the film.

The jury lauded Morricone for his "congenial compositions and arrangements (that) lift our existence to another plane, making the mundane feel like dramatic scenes in full Cinemascope."

The 81-year-old composer "built up a brand new kind of music that set the tone for half a century of film music," it added.

Morricone's long artistic career includes a wide range of composition genres, including for theatre, radio and cinema, and he has worked as orchestrator as well as conductor in the recording field.

He became famous worldwide with his soundtracks to Sergio Leone's westerns, including "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" (1966) and "Once Upon A Time In The West" (1968).

Since 1960, he has scored more than 450 Italian and international films for directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Brian De Palma, Roman Polanski, Oliver Stone and Pedro Almodovar, and has received numerous awards, including three Golden Globes, one Grammy Award an honourary Oscar and five Oscar nominations.

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

The prize, which has been awarded since 1992 when it went to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, has also among others gone to American jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, British pop musician Elton John, French classical conductor and composer Pierre Boulez and British rock legend Peter Gabriel.

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