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Stevie Wonder awarded Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize

Legendary artist recognized for ‘tremendous contribution to music and society,’ Rivlin says

In this October 17, 2017 photo, Stevie Wonder attends the TIDAL X: Brooklyn 3rd Annual Benefit Concert in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
In this October 17, 2017 photo, Stevie Wonder attends the TIDAL X: Brooklyn 3rd Annual Benefit Concert in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Music legend Stevie Wonder on Tuesday was awarded Israel’s Wolf Prize, headlining a group of laureates in the arts and sciences receiving the prestigious recognition.

Wonder was recognized for “his tremendous contribution to music and society enriching the lives of entire generations of music lovers,” according to a statement from President Reuven Rivlin’s office.

The Wolf Foundation is a state-owned entity that issues the award to promote excellence in science and the arts. About three dozen Wolf Laureates have gone on to win Nobel prizes.

Wonder, who has received more than two dozen Grammy Awards, has produced a string of hits over a long career that began when he was a youngster who performed as Little Stevie Wonder. His classic hits include “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Superstition,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Living for the City.”

Wonder will share the music award with Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth.

“Each one of them can bring us out of the depths and lift our souls in a way that sometimes we don’t even fully understand,” said Rivlin, who announced the awards.

Giorgio Parisi received the prize for physics; Joan Steitz, Lynne Maquat and Adrian Krainer won the medicine prize; and Leslie Leiserowitz and Meir Lahav won for chemistry.

Rivlin said the laureates were selected “for their achievements on behalf of humanity.” He described the medicine winners as “pioneering researchers of RNA, the mechanism on which the coronavirus vaccines are based.”

The prizes are usually awarded later in the year in a ceremony at the Knesset. But due to the pandemic, the awards will be given at the laureates’ place of residence.

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