U.S. rock legend Chuck Berry and American opera director Peter Sellars have been awarded the 2014 Polar Music Prize, Sweden's most prestigious award for musicians.

Peter Sellars

Opera director Peter Sellars is celebrated for breathing new life into classical music. (Dario Acosta/Opera News/Associated Press)

The prize committee on Thursday praised the 87-year-old Berry as a "rock 'n' roll pioneer" and said every solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains his DNA.

It said Sellars has showed that classical music is not about dusty sheet music, but "a way of reflecting and depicting the world."

The laureates will receive 1 million kronor (about $154,000 US) each from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on Aug. 26.

The award was founded by late ABBA manager Stig Anderson and is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician.