Paul McCartney to skip Wolf Prize ceremony

Singer could still collect award if he attends in the next two years.

British musician Paul McCartney performs during the "One on One" tour concert in Porto Alegre, Brazil (photo credit: REUTERS)
British musician Paul McCartney performs during the "One on One" tour concert in Porto Alegre, Brazil
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sir Paul McCartney will not be attending the upcoming Wolf Prize ceremony in the Knesset after being selected earlier this year for the prestigious recognition.
A spokeswoman for the prize confirmed on Thursday that after discussions with representatives for the singer and his wife, he informed them that he would not be able to appear in person.
“It’s very flattering and I am grateful to be this year’s Wolf Prize winner in music,” McCartney said, according to the Wolf Foundation.
“It’s certainly a great honor for me to be included among the greatest artists, creators, scientists and writers of today’s history. But after reviewing my schedule I have to announce that I will not be able to arrive at the date set.”
The Wolf Foundation noted that recipients of the prize must appear in person to collect their honor, but they may do so at the ceremonies of either of the following two years instead.
“We thank Sir Paul McCartney, his staff and his wife, Nancy Shevell, for their cooperation,” said Reut Inon Berman, CEO of the Wolf Foundation, “and we’re looking forward to seeing them together in May 2019.”
McCartney was last in Israel in 2008, when he performed for a near-capacity crowd of 50,000 at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv.
The ceremony for this year’s prize winners will be held on May 31 at the Knesset in Jerusalem. The foundation confirmed on Thursday that the remaining eight laureates would attend the event.
In February, the Wolf Prize announced its nine laureates in the fields of music and science. McCartney was to share the $100,000 prize with conductor Adam Fischer. The agriculture prize will be awarded to Prof. Gene Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, and the chemistry honor will be given to Omar Yaghi, a Jordanian American who works at the University of California, Berkeley, and to the University of Tokyo’s Makoto Fujita.
The award in physics will go to Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard of the IBM Research Center in New York at the University of Montreal, respectively. The mathematics prize will be shared by two professors from the University of Chicago, Alexander Beilinson and Vladimir Drinfeld.
The Wolf Prize has been awarded since 1978 by the Wolf Foundation, which was established in 1975 with a $10 million endowment from the Wolf family. While it is a private, nonprofit NGO, its activities are overseen by the state comptroller, and the culture minister acts as chairman of its council.