Finnish composer and Senegalese singer share ABBA manager’s award.

Contemporary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour are the joint winners of the 2013 Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious musical award.

The prize is generally shared by a pop artist and a classical musician. Each of them will receive 1 million kronor (around $150,000), from King Carl XVI Gustaf, at a prize ceremony to be held in Stockholm on August 27.

Saariaho (60), one of the most distinctive voices in current contemporary classical music, was described by the awarding committee as “a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love”. They went on to praise her efforts at combining acoustic instruments with computerised electronics. The recent recording of her D’OM LE VRAI SENSfor solo clarinet and orchestra (Ondine 11732) was a finalist in last years Gramophone Awards while her ground-breaking opera L’Amour de Loinrecorded on Harmonia Mundi (HMC801937/38) was a Gramophone Awads finalist in 2010.

N’Dour (53), who has collaborated with artists including Sting, Bruce Stringsteen and Neneh Cherry, was described as “musically ground-breaking” with a voice that “encompasses an entire continent’s history and future, blood and...