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Patti Smith to Receive Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s Highest Music Honour

Patti Smith will be awarded Sweden’s highest music honour, the Polar Music Prize, at a ceremony in August this year.

“Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock ‘n’ roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock ‘n’ roll,” said the prize committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music (via BBC). “She has transformed the way an entire generation looks, thinks and dreams.”

Many defend Smith’s role as the first female punk, having struck the 1970s punk movement with her debut album ‘Horses.’ In recent years the artist has seen further recognition for her cultural role, with a 2007 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture in 2005.

King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the one million kronor ($164,800/£100,000) prize to Smith and Grammy-winning chamber musicians Kronos Quartet, continuing the tradition of sharing the award between a pop artist and classical act.

“For almost 40 years the Kronos Quartet has been revolutionising the potential of the string quartet genre when it comes to both style and content,” the committee said of the group, famed for their blend of avant-garde rock.

The prize was founded in 1989 by ABBA manager Stig Anderson, and has seen an impressive list of winners including Sir Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

In 2010 the prize went to Icelandic singer Bjork and Italian composer Ennio Morricone, best known for his western theme to ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.’