Latin rock guitar hero Carlos Santana, actress Shirley MacLaine, pop hitmaker Billy Joel, jazz keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock and opera singer Martina Arroyo have been named the 2013 recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors recognizing artistic achievement.
The five honorees were chosen under revised selection process created last year to respond to criticism about transparency of the process, which had yielded only two Latino winners previously.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion and, frankly, speechless when I was told that I was selected,” Hancock said in a note posted to his Facebook page Thursday morning. “This is a most coveted award. To realize that my name will be among those whose outstanding work in the performing arts I most admire is very humbling. I only hope that my being selected will be an encouragement to young people in not only the genre of jazz but in all the arts who strive for excellence in order to better serve the uplifting of the human spirit.”
Singer-pianist-songwriter Joel said in a statement that he was honored to find his name among an “illustrious roster of outstanding musicians.”
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement, “The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.”
The awards will be presented Dec. 7 in Washington at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, and on Dec. 8 the honorees will be saluted by other musicians in a gala concert to be attended by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The event will be televised on CBS.
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