Kennedy Center to honor King, Tyson, Moreno, Lucas, Ozawa and Eagles

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2015 Kennedy Center Honorees: George Lucas, the Eagles, Rita Moreno, Carole King, Cicely Tyson, Seiji Ozawa.

Were it not for both index fingers being broken in a rugby game at age 12, Seiji Ozawa, then a fledgling concert pianist, might not have turned to composition and conducting.

The Kennedy Center Honors announced that the 2015 event will pay tribute to George Lucas, American rock band Eagles, Carole King, Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa and Broadway star Cicely Tyson. “The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes the extraordinary and unparalleled talents of individuals whose impact and genius have left an indelible mark on civilization,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Now after a brilliant career, highlighted primarily by serving at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years, Ozawa has been named one of the this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees. Tyson — a veteran of stage and screen who won Emmy Awards for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” — learned she had been selected as one of this year’s honorees by the John F.

Ozawa, 80, known for trading in the stuffy attire of an orchestra conductor for white turtlenecks and flowing hair, brought both a modern style and Asian flair to the podium. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the news was, well, unexpected. “I did not go speechless; I went breathless,” she said Tuesday. “And I just said to myself, ‘My dear, you had better start breathing. Boston-based critic Michael Steinberg described first seeing Ozawa in 1964 as observing ” …a kind of lightness and grace that was in the music-making, but above all a physical gift for conducting that I’ve never seen surpassed by any other conductor.” In Ozawa, Steinberg saw “an incredible current of energy that seemed to begin in the small of the back and flow up the spine and across the shoulders, along the arms, through the hands all the way to the point of the stick, and into the air beyond. It was a beautiful thing to watch.” Before Boston, Ozawa made his mark across North America with stints as an assistant conductor at the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein and Herbert Von Karajan.

Born into a Japanese family living in Manchuria when it was an occupied province in China, Ozawa’s family returned to Japan where his musical studies began at age 7. In December, Ozawa will be honored along with the rock band, the Eagles, songwriter Carole King, director George Lucas, and actresses Cicely Tyson and Rita Moreno. The program has been criticized in the past for the secretive process through which it chooses artists honored with medals bestowed by the secretary of state, and seats beside the president at the gala, scheduled for Dec. 6. Some pointed to a lack of racial diversity, leading the Honors in 2013 to expand its nominating committee and accept recommendations from the public — an effort they have continued to focus on, said Deborah F. The center is also trying to expand the awards’ reach with a Facebook mini-essay contest using the hashtag #SendMeToHonors, through which one winner will be chosen by popular vote to receive tickets to the gala.

King, 73, is the Grammy winner behind dozens of popular songs including “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Natural Woman.” In a statement, she said, “I’ve been very lucky to able to do the work I love for so many years.

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