WHASINGTON, DC. (John F. Kennedy Center/ www.kennendy-center.org) - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the selection, by its board of trustees, of the individuals who received the Kennedy Center Honors of 2004. Recipients to be honored at the 27th annual national celebration of the arts were:
- actor, producer, writer and director Warren Beatty
- husband-and-wife actors, writers and producers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
- singer and composer Elton John
- soprano Joan Sutherland and
- composer and conductor John Williams.
'This year the Kennedy Center honors not the usual five but six extraordinary individuals whose unique and abundant artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,' said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. 'They are a film artist whose talents are astonishingly diverse; a greatly revered couple of stage and screen; a pop music icon who also composes stunning musical film and theater scores; an operatic superstar of unsurpassed artistic achievement; and one of the most influential American composers of the past four decades.'
The annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year. The 2004 Honorees will be saluted by stars from the world of the performing arts at a gala performance in the Kennedy Center's Opera House on Sunday evening, December 5, to attended by the President of the United States and Mrs. Bush, and by artists from around the world.
The Kennedy Center Honors bestowed the night before the gala on Saturday, December 4, at a State Department dinner, hosted by the Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The Honors Gala taped for broadcast later in December (21/12) on the CBS Network for the 27th consecutive year as a two-hour prime time special.
George Stevens, Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 27 th consecutive year. The Honors telecast has been honored with five Emmy's for Outstanding Program as well as the Peabody Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television.
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. 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.
Members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, as well as past Honorees, made recommendations of possible Honorees. Among the artists making recommendations were: Dan Aykroyd, Christine Baranski, Angela Bassett, Joshua Bell, Adrien Brody, Dave Brubeck, Cy Coleman, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Suzanne Farrell, Renee Fleming, Morgan Freeman, Rosemary Harris, Paloma Herrera, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nathan Lane, Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Pinchas Zuckerman.
Michael M. Kaiser, President of the Center, expressed the Center's gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. 'In addition to recognizing our most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors Gala also extensively supports the many performing arts initiatives, education and public service programming, and national outreach efforts that make the Center's presentations accessible to all.'