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Afghan Ensemble, Metallica Share 2018 Polar Music Prize


Negina Khpalwak, the first female orchestra conductor in Afghanistan, during a rehearsal at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul in January 2017

The Afghan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and its founder have won the 2018 Polar Music Prize, a Swedish award, in recognition of "how this inspirational organization has used the power of music to transform young people’s lives."

The award panel said on February 14 that the music institute and its "visionary" founder and director are sharing the prize with U.S. heavy metal band Metallica.

"ANIM, a decade on, flourishes and is committed to preserving Afghanistan’s rich musical heritage and to providing a safe learning environment to hundreds of boys and girls," it said in a statement.

The two laureates will each receive 1 million Swedish kronor ($125,000) at a gala in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, on June 14 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Sarmast said he was "very excited, honored, and privileged" to win the prize.

WATCH: The Afghan National Institute of Music is training a new generation to carry on Afghanistan's musical traditions. At least half its students come from underprivileged backgrounds, including orphanages or the streets of Kabul.

Disadvantaged Afghan Kids Find Home At Music Institute
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The Polar Music Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the manager of Swedish superstars ABBA, and selects two laureates each year.

The prize's stated goal is to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music."

Previous laureates include Sting and Bob Dylan.

With reporting by AFP
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