Punk legend Iggy Pop and Ensemble intercontemporain win Polar Prize

Stockholm (AFP) – US punk icon Iggy Pop and French contemporary music ensemble Ensemble intercontemporain on Tuesday won Sweden's Polar Music Prize, the organisation behind the award said.

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The laureates will receive their award, which includes a one million kronor (96,000 euros, $110,000) cash prize, at a ceremony in Stockholm on May 24.

"With his courage, initiative and raw power, Iggy Pop paved the way for punk and post-punk," the organisation said of 74-year-old Iggy Pop, born James Newell Osterberg.

"Groups like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Nick Cave all followed in his footsteps".

"Iggy Pop is unique, there is no one else quite like him. Ensemble intercontemporain are a ground-breaking collective and their work has helped push the boundaries of modern classical music", Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said in a statement.

The organisation described Ensemble intercontemporain, founded in 1976 by former Polar Music Prize laureate Pierre Boulez, as "the world's leading contemporary music ensemble".

Its musical director Matthias Pintscher, said that with 31 soloists, it's "not really a chamber orchestra," but it still makes it the "biggest ensemble for contemporary music in the world."

"It allows us to create a repertoire that is truly unique and really ours –- basically tailored to the size and the needs of the ensemble," Pintscher said in a statement.

The Polar Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop superstars ABBA, and selects two or three laureates each year.

The award aims to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music".

Past winners have included Paul McCartney, Grandmaster Flash, Metallica, the Afghan National Institute of Music, Sting, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and Dizzy Gillespie.