This year's Kennedy Center Honors belong to musicians and Meryl Streep — the Oscar-winning actress known to favor us with a song or two.
Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins are the honorees at this year's 34th annual Kennedy Center ceremony.
“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.
The honors will be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 27 on CBS, which has aired the ceremony each year since its debut.
President Obama and the first lady will welcome the honorees as they're feted by fellow artists and performers a the Kennedy Center Opera House. The honors will be bestowed the night before at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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 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.
Rubenstein said of the honorees: “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.”