“With an international presence for over 35 years, violinist Midori combines graceful precision and expression for performances building connections between art and the human experience.”
—David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. last night, January 13, announced the five honorees to receive the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts. The 2020 Kennedy Center Honors, traditionally held in early December each year, have been postponed until May 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients to be honored at the 43rd annual national celebration are: Violinist Midori, choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, country singer Garth Brooks and actor Dick Van Dyke.
The world-renowned violinist, Midori has been a established figure in the classical music world for over 35 years, having worked with the world’s leading orchestras and artists. She is also a visionary activist and educator particularly through her non-profit organizations, such as Midori & Friends and MUSIC SHARING. In addition, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
“Artists have a singular responsibility, through our work and deeds, to echo and mirror our society and serve its needs. As a new chapter of life is about to begin for all of us, I especially feel the current moment’s necessities and opportunities to explore a spring of new and preserved energies and discoveries, to play my part in seeking various avenues and forms of creativity and recovery. From an early age, I have been gifted with extraordinary experiences. I consider them to be my treasure and fortune that I might now draw upon. I wish to accomplish much going forward. My plans are to be making music again, in both pioneering and traditional ways, to sing out and to stir what lies within us, to describe mysteries, of the heart and of the mind. So, in the spirit of peace and connectivity through this country and the world, I am thrilled to be a recipient of one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, as we, together, reach toward renewed expression of the dreams and hopes that unify us all.”
Midori told the New York Timesthat the pandemic has given her a renewed sense of appreciation for performing in front of an audience. “It made me realize how precious the moments of being able to do things live are,” she said.
The Honors recipients are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Kennedy Center’s Board of Trustees in recognition for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts. An Honoree medallion ceremony for the Honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during this week in May 17–22.
The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special on June 6, 3 a.m. CET. This year’s honorees were selected on the recommendation of the Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee, chaired by David Bohnett and including David M. Rubenstein, Deborah F. Rutter, Michael Lombardo, Cappy McGarr, Daryl Roth, and Shonda Rhimes, as well as previous honorees and distinguished artists such as Julie Andrews, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Judith Jamison, and John Williams.