via press release:
KENNEDY CENTER TO HONOR SINGER BARBARA COOK, SINGER AND SONGWRITER NEIL DIAMOND, CELLIST YO-YO MA, SAXOPHONIST AND COMPOSER SONNY ROLLINS AND ACTRESS MERYL STREEP, ON “THE 34TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS,” TO BE BROADCAST DEC. 27 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
CBS Has Broadcast The Kennedy Center Honors Each Year Since Its Debut 34 Years Ago
Singer Barbara Cook, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins and actress Meryl Streep will receive honors for 2011 on THE 34TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast Tuesday, December 27 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut.
In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2011 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitols of the world. Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.
“This year, the Kennedy Center selects five extraordinary individuals whose collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “With her sublime voice and rich performances, Barbara Cook has defined all that is best and brightest in the Great American Songbook. Neil Diamond’s songwriting genius has created one of the most enduring catalogs of American popular music and his live performances have captivated audiences for five decades. Yo-Yo Ma’s sterling musicianship makes him one of the most versatile and popular classical music performers in the world, and his Silk Road Project has inspired students across the world to love and honor music. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ masterful improvisation and powerful presence have infused the truly American art form of jazz with passion and energy. The sheer brilliance and breadth of Meryl Streep’s performances count as one of the most exhilarating cultural spectacles of our time.”
The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the Honorees, members of the Artists Committee who nominate them and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance taping on Dec. 4. The 2011 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner dance in the Grand Foyer. The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television — and are selected by 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.
Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser expressed the national cultural center’s continued gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. “In addition to recognizing some of the world’s most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors supports a wide variety of artistic programming, as well as the Center’s educational and national outreach efforts.”
George Stevens Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 34th year. Stevens and his Honors producing partner Michael Stevens received two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Special and are nominated again for the fifth consecutive time. The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to Broadcasting and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America.