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December 16 , 2003

Keith Jarrett wins Sonning Music Prize

Keith Jarrett has been announced as the winner of the 2004 Sonning Music Prize, widely regarded as one of Europe’s most important awards.
      Igor Stravinsky was the first musician to receive the award in 1959. Since then prize-winners have come almost exclusively from the “classical” world and have included Dmitri Shostakovich, Leonard Bernstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Issac Stern… Musicians associated with ECM who have won the prize in the past have included Heinz Holliger in 1987, Gidon Kremer in 1989, András Schiff in 1997, and György Kurtág in 2003.
      Only one other jazz musician has ever won the award – Keith Jarrett’s former employer Miles Davis, 20 years ago.
      The award, which carries with it a cash prize of 80,000 dollars, will be presented to Keith Jarrett during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July 2004.
      From the prize jury’s citation: “Keith Jarrett has experimented and modernized music without rejecting tradition and is uncorrupted by the times and by music’s trends and caprices… He has created his own unmistakable language through his exquisite fantasy and intelligence.”
      The Sonning Prize is the second major music award for Jarrett in recent months. In May 2003 he was presented with the Polar Music Prize.
      Jarrett’s current ECM release is the live recording “Up For It”, release of which celebrated the 20th anniversary of his working band with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.