Opera singer Martina Arroyo, pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock, pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine and musician and songwriter Carlos Santana will receive honors for 2013 on The 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 29 (9 p.m.), 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 2013 honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals 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.
"The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world," said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers; Herbie Hancock has established himself as one of the most innovative musicians in the world, constantly breaking musical barriers and redefining the art of jazz; Billy Joel's melodies have provided the soundtrack of our lives for over four decades, making him one of pop music's most prolific and memorable singers and songwriters; the remarkable breadth and range of Shirley MacLaine's acting has left an indelible impression during a nearly 60-year career on stage and screen; from his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 Grammys and beyond, Carlos Santana's artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions."
The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the honorees, along with 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. 8. The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer.
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 a 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. and his honors producing partner, Michael Stevens, will again produce and write the Kennedy Center Honors. They have received four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Special. 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. George Stevens created the honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff.