Pop composer Burt Bacharach, avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and inventor Robert Moog will receive the 2001 Polar Music Prize for "transcending musical genres and breaking down musical boundaries," the Royal Swedish Academy of Music has announced.
The $115,000 prize was created in 1989 by Stig Anderson, known primarily for his association with the pop group Abba. It will be presented to the trio on May 14 with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Crown Princess Victoria presiding over the ceremony.
Composer, arranger and pianist Bacharach was recognized for introducing a daring complexity to the R&B and pop fields in the 1960s. Recordings such as Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had a Heart," "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Promises, Promises," Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love" (RealAudio excerpt), Jerry Butler's "Make It Easy on Yourself," and Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat?" demonstrate the impressive demands placed on singer and musician alike in order to properly convey tunes mostly co-written with lyricist Hal David. Bacharach was rediscovered by mainstream audiences in the '90s because of his appearance in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and collaboration with Elvis Costello on the 1998 album Painted From Memory, which included "God Give Me Strength" (RealAudio excerpt). No longer considered a totem of kitsch, he is now regarded as a composer on a par with Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.
Stockhausen was recognized for his contributions to the world of classical composition and his "impeccable integrity and never-ceasing creativity." His rise to international acclaim began in 1953 with his serial work Composition No. 2. His 1956 Gesang der Jünglinge is generally considered the first full-length electronic composition. More recent works, such as 1995's Helikopter Quartett (RealAudio excerpt), have treated music as conceptual art in a manner akin to John Cage.
Inventor Moog's Minimoog was the first electronic synthesizer, which, the Academy said, "paved the way to the realm of electronic sounds that has revolutionized all genres of music during the past half-century." Moog began manufacturing synthesizers in 1964. It was discovered by groups such as the Beatles and Tangerine Dream after Walter (now Wendy) Carlos employed it on his 1968 recording Switched-On Bach.
Previous Polar Music Prize winners include Paul McCartney, Pierre Boulez, Joni Mitchell and Ravi Shankar.