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Matthias Pintscher

Matthias Pinstcher & Ensemble intercontemporain receive a 2022 Polar Music Prize

From the Polar Music Prize

Iggy Pop & Ensemble intercontemporain are the Laureates of the Polar Music Prize 2022

Iggy Pop, born James Newell Osterberg, the legendary godfather of punk, and Ensemble intercontemporain, the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble, are today announced as the recipients of the 2022 Polar Music Prize, in what marks the 30th year of the prize. The awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday 24 May in Stockholm at the Grand Hotel, and will be broadcast live in Sweden on TV4 at 8pm (CET). It can be viewed throughout Europe via TV4 Play from 5.30pm (CET).

The Polar Music Prize, renowned as music’s most prestigious honor, returns in 2022, its 30th anniversary, the first recipient being Paul McCartney in 1992. The Prize celebrates all genres of music and each year honors two Laureates, one representing popular music and one from the classical field. Both will receive prize money of one million Swedish Kroner (approx. £83,060/US $110,602).

Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “We are delighted to return in 2022, after a two year absence due to the pandemic, with two incredibly worthy Laureates. 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. We’re thrilled that we can come together to honour and celebrate the important work of both of these Laureates.”

Matthias Pintscher, musical director of Ensemble intercontemporain, said: “I’m beyond excited to be coming to Stockholm in May to receive the Polar Music Prize in honour of the Ensemble intercontemporain.”

Ensemble intercontemporain is the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble. It was founded in 1976 by the late French composer Pierre Boulez, who received the prize in 1996, with the support of Michel Guy and Nicholas Snowman. Under the artistic guidance of its musical director Matthias Pintscher, the collective collaborates with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theatre, film, video and visual arts. It is the first and longest standing organisation of its type in the world.

Ensemble intercontemporain places a strong emphasis on education for aspiring musicians, helping the future generations of musical talent to thrive. It hosts creative workshops for students, concerts for children and training programmes for budding performers, conductors and composers. The ensemble not only creates and inspires, but works to encourage and nourish musical promise on a global level.

Matthias Pintscher said: “The Ensemble intercontemporain consists of 31 soloists. In that sense, we are not really a chamber orchestra, but it’s an ensemble which makes us, in size, 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.

“These amazing musicians have such an open mindset and I find that really unique. They have this incredibly high responsibility for not only new work, for every work that we perform. It’s a pleasure to jump into this bubbling pool of creativity every time we get together and explore the works that we are performing.”

Watch the announcement video.

Read the full press release.