The Polar Music Prize is Sweden's biggest music award. It was founded by Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, in 1989 through a donation to The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Each winner receives $147,000.
Helped on and off the stage, Rollins, 76, bowed gently and said he was honored to receive the prize "on behalf of all the great musicians I learned my music from."
Eagle-Eye Cherry — son of trumpet player Don Cherry with whom Rollins toured in the 1960s — read the academy's citation for Rollins, calling him "one of the most powerful and personal voices in jazz for more than 50 years."
Rollins was honored by a performance by Swedish hip-hop singer Timbuktu and the band Damn! He heard his songs "Alfie's Theme" and "Oleo" played by saxophonist Lennart Aberg, pianist Bobo Stensson and the Jonas Kullhammar Quartet. Swedish jazz singer Viktoria Tolstoy sang "`Round Midnight."
Reich, 70, achieved worldwide fame in the 1970s with his percussion work "Drumming" as well as with the group Steve Reich and Musicians.
He said he was highly honored by the award and thanked the academy for creating a prize that doesn't make a split between jazz and classical music.
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"This is the way it should be in music," Reich said, adding that he was very honored to receive the prize at the same time as Rollins.
Reich's work has been performed by orchestras and ensembles around the globe, including the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Percussion group Kroumata played his works "Drumming," "Sextet" and "Music for Pieces of Wood." Guitarist Mats Bergstrom played his "Electric Counterpoint" composition.