Rock legends Led Zeppelin and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev have been named the 2006 laureates of the prestigious Polar Music Prize.

Ake Holmquist, the chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy Of Music which hands out the accolade, announced the citation yesterday (07NOV05), calling the British supergroup "one of the great pioneers of rock".

Meanwhile, Gergiev, the founder of many international music festivals, was cited for "the way his unique, electrifying musical skills have deepened and renewed our relationship with the grand tradition".

The Polar Music Prize is awarded annually based on nominations submitted by the board of the Stig Anderson Music Award Foundation.

Swedish king Carl Xvi Gustaf will award the prizes next May (06).

Previous winners of the Polar Music Prize include Sir Paul McCartney and SIR Elton John.