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Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma Among 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees

Meryl Streep
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Meryl Streep at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon.

Singer Barbara Cook and composer Sonny Rollins round out the list of those who will be honored this year.

The 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors announced the five cultural icons whose creative work will be celebrated at this year’s event airing Tuesday, Dec. 27 on CBS.

Actress Meryl Streep, singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins and singer Barbara Cook are this year’s recipients.

“This year, the Kennedy Center selects five extraordinary individuals whose collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” says Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

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“With her sublime voice and rich performances," he continues. "Barbara Cook has defined all that is best and brightest in the Great American Songbook. Neil Diamond’s songwriting genius has created one of the most enduring catalogs of American popular music and his live performances have captivated audiences for five decades. Yo-Yo Ma’s sterling musicianship makes him one of the most versatile and popular classical music performers in the world, and his Silk Road Project has inspired students across the world to love and honor music. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ masterful improvisation and powerful presence have infused the truly American art form of jazz with passion and energy. The sheer brilliance and breadth of Meryl Streep’s performances count as one of the most exhilarating cultural spectacles of our time.”

The honorees will be given an evening of tributes and performances by their peers and fans while seated next to President Barack Obama and the First Lady at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

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The Center’s Board of Trustees chooses each year’s recipients for their body of work and contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Past honorees have included Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Robert De Niro, and Steven Spielberg.

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