PHILIP GLASS TO RECEIVE 41ST ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS ALONGSIDE CHER, REBA MCENTIRE, WAYNE SHORTER
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced that lauded American composer and pianist Philip Glass is among the four Honorees who will receive the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. The other recipients to be honored at the 41st annual national celebration of the arts are: singer and actress Cher, Country music entertainer Reba McEntire, and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. This year, the co-creators of Hamilton—writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire—will receive a unique Kennedy Center Honors as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.
“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes exceptional artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on our culture,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music, and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums, and glittering on-screen presence; Country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over four decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt, heart-warming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist who, as both a composer and saxophonist, has carried forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of Hamilton have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”
“The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage. This year’s slate of Honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation’s originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that has come to define who we are as a people,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.
“As the national cultural center, the Kennedy Center is guided by its artistic mission to pay tribute to the past, to offer a platform for artists making transformative impact in the present, and to shepherd creative innovators as we look toward the future,” Ms. Rutter continued. “Historically, the Kennedy Center Honors has celebrated lifetime achievement. In recognizing Hamilton and its co-creators, the Kennedy Center is making an unprecedented statement about an unprecedented work—a work that transcends cultural boundaries and tells America’s story in a powerful and contemporary way.”
“I am very pleased to be named a Kennedy Center Honoree this year,” said Glass. “The vital importance of the Arts in American culture cannot be overstated. As a musician and composer, I recognize the social responsibility to portray stories of importance in my operatic works—from Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent resistance, to Einstein and Galileo’s groundbreaking scientific work—many of my works focus on leaders from different cultures around the world. I hope that my work will allow future audiences and performers to continue the longstanding tradition of cultural acceptance and exploration in the Arts. Thank you, the Kennedy Center, for this once-in-a-lifetime honor.”
Throughout its 40-year history, the annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural and society calendar, and its national broadcast on CBS is a high point of the television season. On Sunday, December 2, in a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment, the 2018 Honorees will be saluted by today’s leading performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated in the Box Tier of the iconic Kennedy Center Opera House, the Honorees will accept the recognition and gratitude of their peers through performances and tributes.
The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner in the Grand Foyer. The Honorary Chairs of the 2018 Honors Gala are Buffy Cafritz and Ann D. Jordan.
The Kennedy Center Honors medallions will be presented on Saturday, December 1, the night before the Gala, at a State Department dinner. The Founding Chair of the State Department dinner is Elizabeth Stevens.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Network for the 41st consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Wednesday, December 26 at 8 p.m. ET.
White Cherry Entertainment is well known for producing the perennial award-winning Tony Awards® for the last 18 consecutive years, and also for producing the Primetime Emmy Awards®, NFL Opening Kickoff and Super Bowl Halftime Shows, the Democratic National Convention, Presidential Inaugural Galas, and many other special events. To date, White Cherry Entertainment has won 9 Emmy Awards®, while Kirshner and Weiss have individually received an additional 5 Emmy Awards®, 8 Directors Guild Awards, a Peabody Award, and 40 Emmy® nominations. This is the fourth consecutive year White Cherry will produce the Kennedy Center Honors.
CBS is the Exclusive Sponsor of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Boeing is the Exclusive Underwriter of the Kennedy Center Honors Gala. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of the Kennedy Center Honors.
The Kennedy Center Honors Founding Producer is George Stevens, Jr.
The Honors recipients recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are confirmed by the Executive Committee of 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 balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
The Honoree selection process includes solicitation of recommendations from the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, the artistic community, and the general public. This year’s selected Honorees were chosen based on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee, which is chaired by Elaine Wynn and includes Deborah F. Rutter, David M. Rubenstein, Shonda Rhimes, David Bohnett, Michael Lombardo, and Cappy McGarr, along with past Honors recipients and distinguished artists Julie Andrews, Martina Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Chita Rivera, and Twyla Tharp. These individuals play a critical role in the evaluation and selection process, and the Kennedy Center is indebted to them for their involvement.