The Polar Music Prizes 2016 have been awarded to Swedish songwriter Max Martin and Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

Max Martin, 44, born Karl Martin Sandberg, grew up making music in the suburbs of Stockholm. Since then, he has been writing and producing hit songs for the likes of Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, and as recently noted at the 58th Grammys, Taylor Swift and many others. He is the third most successful songwriter in Billboard history — only the Beatles icons Paul McCartney and John Lennon have had more number one hits. So far.


Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist Cecilia Bartoli is best known for her interpretations of the music of Mozart and Rossini, as well as for her performances of lesser-known Baroque and classical music. Bartoli, one of the most popular (and one of the top-selling) opera singers today, is known for having the versatility to sing soprano and mezzo roles.

The winners will be invited to accept the award in Stockholm in August. The Polar Prize — founded in 1989 "to honor exceptional achievements that transcend music genres" — is awarded annually. For more info, see

"... songwriter Martin Sandberg from Stockholm, Sweden, who writes under the name Max Martin. Melodies are like time capsules. Melodies define their time and are spread from person to person, across borders and across generations. In the last 20 years, no composer in the world has written melodies as sustainable or as widespread as those of Max Martin. Right now, at this very moment, someone, somewhere in the world will be singing a hit song written and produced by Max Martin. With his ear for song melodies, his musical precision and craftsmanship, he has refined and developed the world’s popular music."

"... the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli from Rome, Italy. With a vocal range of three octaves and a unique ability to live a role with fullness of expression, Cecilia Bartoli has developed song as an art form. Cecilia Bartoli has spellbound audiences in the world’s great opera houses, but is not content with the well-known repertoire. She has also dug deeply into the history of music and presented long-lost music from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that is completely new to today’s audiences. Cecilia Bartoli adds new chapters to the history of music, builds bridges between centuries and deepens our understanding of Europe’s cultural heritage. Cecilia Bartoli shows us that raised voices can change the world."