Morricone, Bjork win 2010 Polar Music Prize

Famed Italian film score composer Ennio Morricone and Icelandic singer Bjork are the latest winners of Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize, organizers have announced.
Ennio Morricone, seen in Rome in 2006, is the latest winner of Sweden's Polar Music Prize. ((Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press))
Famed Italian film score composer Ennio Morricone and Icelandic singer Bjork are the latest winners of Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize, organizers announced on Monday.

Morricone and Bjork will be celebrated at a gala in Stockholm later this year, where they each will be presented 1 million kronor (about $133,500 Cdn) in prize money.

"[Morricone's] congenial compositions and arrangements lift our existence to another plane, making the mundane feel like dramatic scenes in full Cinemascope," the selection committee said of the prolific 81-year-old composer.

"He built up a brand new kind of music that set the tone for half a century of film music, but also influenced and inspired a number of musicians in the spheres of pop, rock and classical music."

Film scores for Sergio Leone's iconic spaghetti westerns such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso and Roland Joffe's The Mission are among the more than 450 film scores Morricone has composed over the years.

Bjork, seen in concert in Lima in 2007, was praised for her distinctive contributions to pop music. ((Martin Mejia/Associated Press))
"With her deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice, Bjork has already made an indelible mark on pop music and modern culture at large, despite her relative youth," the group said in its citation for the 44-year-old Icelandic singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

The committee also Bjork's uncompromising distinctiveness, her avant-garde approach and her embrace of technology. 

In addition to work with other Icelandic bands, her series of successful solo albums and many contributions to soundtracks and compilations, Bjork has also been recognized by the international cinema community for her lead turn in Lars von Trier's 2000 movie Dancer in the Dark.

Founded by Abba manager Stig Anderson in 1989 and considered Sweden's biggest music world honour, the Polar Music Prize is typically presented to one classical and one pop musician each year.

Past winners have included Jose Antonio Abreu, Renée Fleming, Pink Floyd, B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, Ravi Shankar, Joni Mitchell and Mstislav Rostropovich.

With files from The Associated Press