The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Thursday (Sept 12th) the selection of the five individuals who will receive the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors. Recipients to be honored at the 36th annual national celebration of the arts are: opera singer Martina Arroyo; pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock; pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel; actress Shirley MacLaine; and musician and songwriter Carlos Santana.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers; Herbie Hancock has established himself as one of the most innovative musicians in the world, constantly breaking musical barriers and redefining the art of jazz; Billy Joel’s melodies have provided the soundtrack of our lives for over four decades making him one pop music’s most prolific and memorable singers and songwriters; the remarkable breadth and range of Shirley MacLaine’s acting has left an indelible impression over a nearly 60-year career on stage and screen; from his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 Grammys and beyond, Carlos Santana’s artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions.”
“I’m truly honored to be named a Kennedy Center honoree along with the other esteemed artists named this year,” Billy Joel states. “And to have my name added to the illustrious roster of outstanding musicians that have already been so honored is very meaningful to me. But to be chosen for this special award essentially for doing what I love most amazes me more than anything.”
The annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year, and its broadcast on CBS is a high point of the television season. On Sunday, December 8th, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, produced by George Stevens, Jr. and Michael Stevens, the 2013 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers through performances and tributes.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.”
The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance. The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer.
The Kennedy Center Honors medallions will be presented on Saturday, December 7th, the night before the gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Network for the 36th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Sunday, December 29th at 9 pm ET/PT.
Under the leadership of George Stevens, Jr. and his Honors producing partner, Michael Stevens, the broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors has received four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Television Special. The Honors telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America. Between them, the Stevenses have received 22 Emmys and 53 nominations for their work in television. Nick Vanoff was co-creator of the Honors with George Stevens, Jr. in 1978.
The Honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are selected by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.