Chinese-American Yo Yo Ma and Paul Simon Share Swedish Polar Music Prize

The Chinese-American cellist Yo Yo Ma, together with the American singer-song writer Paul Simon, won the 2012 Swedish Polar Music Prize on May 8. 

Founded in 1989 by the Swedish legend Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricst and manager of the famous ABBA band, the Swedish Polar Music Prize is recognized as a Nobel Prize in music.

This year the winners are Yo Yo Ma and Paul Simon.

“The leading of cellist of our time and a living proof that music is communication, passion and the ability to share experience,” the prize committee commented on Yo-Yo Ma’s performance.

Born in 1955, Yo Yo Ma is also known for his diverse musical elements where his inspiration comes from native Chinese music and the music of the Kalahari bush people in Africa.

“With a cello and curiosity in his wake, Yo Yo Ma has been travelling routes like the Silk Road, united people from every continent,” said the prize committee.

Paul Simon was born in 1941. He is widely known as half of the American duo “Simon and Garfunkel”.  He received many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards. Some of his famous songs include Mrs. Robinson, The Sound of Silence, and Bridge over Troubled Water.

“For five decades, Paul Simon has built bridges not only over troubled waters but over entire oceans by (re)joining the world’s continents with his music. Nobody else is more deserving of the epithet of world-class songwriter,” said the prize committee.

Both winners will receive the prize of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at Stockholm Concert Hall on August 28. The prize, valued at a million Swedish Kronor (about USD 140,000), will be awarded to each winner.    

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