Rock legend Chuck Berry and opera and theater director Peter Sellars, both from the U.S., are the recipients of this year’s Polar Prize.

”Chuck Berry was the rock n roll pioneer who turned the electric guitar into the main instrument of rock music,” the jury said in its citation. “Every riff and solo played by rock guitarists over the last 60 years contains DNA that can be traced right back to Chuck Berry,” it added.
The 87-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist influenced some of the biggest pop and rock groups of the 1960s including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.
"Maybellene," “Johnnie B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “School Days” are some of his major hits.
As for his co-laureate Peter Sellars, the jury said he was “a living definition of what the Polar Music Prize is all about: highlighting the music and presenting it in a new context“. The 56-year-old director is known for his groundbreaking and sometimes provocative interpretations of classical masterpieces.
“Sellars has set Mozart in the luxury of Trump Tower and in the drug trade of Spanish Harlem, turned Nixon’s visit to China into opera and set Kafka’s obsession with home cleanliness to music,” the jury said. The winners take home one million SEK ($154,000) in prize money, and will receive their award from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on August 26.


The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA. The prize, which has been awarded since 1992, when it went to former Beatle Paul McCartney, has also been won by Dizzy Gillespie, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Keith Jarrett, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Last year it went to Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour and Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.