Risk-taking American opera director and rock legend win Sweden’s most prestigious music prize.

American theatre director Peter Sellars and rock and roll legend Chuck Berry have been named as the joint winners of the 2014 Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious musical award.

The prize is generally shared by a pop artist and a classical musician. Each of them will receive 1 million kronor (around $150,000), from King Carl XVI Gustaf, at a prize ceremony to be held in Stockholm on August 26.

Sellars, a notable opera director as well as a festival director of some reputation is best known for his radical reappraisal of classic works. He has been a long time collaborator with American composer John Adams, inspiring and directing most of his stage works from Nixon in Chinaup to the recent Gospel According to the Other Mary.

The committee praised Sellars for fulfilling the aim of the award, which is to “break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music”, calling him “a living definition of what the Polar Music Prize is all about: highlighting the music and presenting it in a new context”.

At the age of 87, Chuck Berry has...