Michael Tilson Thomas has been selected by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as one of five Honorees who will receive the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. “[MTT] has shaped American music and musical institutions for the 21st century,” says Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
“The life of an artist, or of an arts institution, has essentially two moments,” says MTT. “The first is inventing yourself which takes vision and gumption. The second is going the distance, sustaining the vision and sharing it. I was fortunate to grow up around people who did both. My family and my devoted teachers lived every day reaffirming the highest standards and ideals of the arts and of our nation. They understood that the arts really matter when they have a creative role in a living tradition. I am honored that the Kennedy Center, which is a living center of both arts and ideals, has chosen to recognize my work. I hope that I can be thought of as a representative for all American classical musicians at this remarkable event.”
Fellow recipients to be honored at the 42nd annual national celebration of the arts are R&B collective Earth, Wind & Fire, actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt, and children’s television program Sesame Street. The Kennedy Center Honors medallions will be presented on Saturday, December 7 at a State Department dinner, and recipients will be recognized and celebrated through performances and tributes at the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors Gala on Sunday, December 8. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS for the 42nd consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Sunday, December 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“In this class of honorees, we are witnessing a uniquely American story: one that is representative of so many cultural touchstones and musical moments that make our nation great,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “When I look at this class, I see the hopes, aspirations, and achievements not just of these honorees, but of the many generations they have influenced and continue to influence.We’re not just looking back; these honorees are urging us to look forward as well.”
Photo courtesy of the New World Symphony (Photo by Gary T’to)