Pink Floyd and soprano Renee Fleming were named winners of the 2008 Polar Music Prize on Wednesday for their contributions to their musical genres.

The British rock group and Fleming will each receive a cash prize of US$168,000 at an Aug. 26 awards ceremony in Stockholm, organizers said. The Polar Music Prize is Sweden's biggest music award. It was founded by Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, in 1989.

The prize committee cited Fleming's "sublime, unparalleled voice and unique stylistic versatility."

A two-time Grammy winner, Fleming, 49, has performed in opera houses worldwide after her professional debut more than 20 years ago.

The committee said Pink Floyd, founded in the 1960s, had made a "monumental contribution" in the development of popular culture.

"They captured the mood and spirit of a whole generation in their reflections and attitudes," the citation said.

The band, famed for albums such as "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall," was "foremost in shaping the sounds that would influence artists forever," it read.

Syd Barrett, who co-founded Pink Floyd with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright in 1965 and who also wrote many of the band's early songs, left the group in 1968 and was replaced by David Gilmour. Barrett died in 2006.

Waters left the group in 1985, but rejoined the band for a performance at the London Live 8 concert in 2005.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music administered the prize until this year, when it pulled out, saying it was taking up too much of the academy's time.

The prize is typically split between pop artists and classical musicians.

Last year's winners were composer Steve Reich and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

Previous winners include Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Isaac Stern, Bruce Springsteen and Quincy Jones.


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