The Kronos Quartet has been named the recipient of two major music prizes – the Avery Fisher Prize in the US and the Polar Music Prize in Sweden. It is the first time any musician or ensemble has ever won both awards, let alone simultaneously.

The American prize, for outstanding achievement and excellence in music, carries a monetary value of $75,000. Previous recipients from the string-playing field include Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Pamela Frank, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham.

The quartet joins singer-songwriter Patti Smith in receiving the 2011 Polar Music Prize. The award is given each year to two individuals or groups in order to represent different music forms and genres. The prize recognises exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music, and each recipient receives SEK1m (£100,000).