The 2018 Polar Music Prize has been awarded to Dr. Ahmad Sarmast and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and the American band Metallica.
The annual award, often described as the "Nobel Prize of Music," celebrates the power and importance of music and is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions for international recognition of excellence in the world of music. The intention is to break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.

Winner Dr. Ahmad Sarmast is the founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), which the Polar Music Prize recognizes is an inspirational organization that uses the power of music to transform young people’s lives. In the 1990s, Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage, which thrived for centuries, was abruptly halted by the civil war, and from 1996 until 2001 music was forbidden and silenced throughout the country. In 2008, Dr. Sarmast returned to Kabul at great personal risk to establish ANIM.
A decade later, ANIM is flourishing and is committed to preserving Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage and providing a safe learning environment to hundreds of boys and girls.
“I’m very excited, honored and privileged to be a recipient of the 2018 Polar Music Prize alongside The Afghanistan National Institute of Music,” said Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, founder and director of ANIM.


The Polar Music Prize Award Committee also recognizes American heavy metal band, Metallica, for taking rock music to places it had never been before. “Not since Wagner's emotional turmoil and Tchaikovsky's cannons has anyone created music that is so physical and furious, and yet still so accessible,” said members of the committee. The strength of the band’s uncompromising albums has helped millions of listeners since Metallica's inception in 1981 transform their sense of alienation into a superpower. In Metallica's world, both a teenage bedroom and a concert hall can be transformed into a Valhalla.
“Receiving the Polar Music Prize is an incredible thing, it puts us in very distinguished company. It’s a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years. At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us. Thank you very much,” said Lars Ulrich, drummer and co-founder of Metallica.

The Polar Music Prize, awarded annually, was founded in 1989 by the late Stig "Stikkan” Anderson, a legend in the history of Swedish popular music. His intention was to honor exceptional achievements that transcend music genres. Under his successful record label, Polar Music, Anderson was the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, playing a key role in their enormous success.
The board of the Polar Music Prize Foundation consists of representatives from the Stig Anderson family, SKAP (The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) and STIM (The Swedish Performing Rights Society). The task of handling nomination submission and selecting winners is handled by a prize committee of 12 independent members.
The winners will accept their prizes from HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm’s Grand Hotel on June 14. Each laureate receives one million Swedish kronor (about $112,000) in prize money.

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