Levine, the longtime conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, has just completed his first season as music director of the Boston Symphony. The award recognizes "his extraordinary contribution to the world of music."
At the ceremony, composer T. J. Anderson was inducted into the 250-person Academy. The 76-year-old Anderson's many works include the operas Soldier Boy, Soldier; Walker; and Slip Knot, as well as the first orchestration of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha.
Also inducted into the Academy were architects Maya Lin and James Stewart Polshek, landscape architect Laurie Olin, artists Cindy Sherman and Kiki Smith, and writers Tony Kushner and Rosanna Warren. English architect Norman Foster —whose Sage Gateshead performing arts center opened this year—and Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk were made honorary members.
The American Academy was founded in 1898; it is made up of 250 leading American writers, composers, painters, sculptors, and architects as well as 75 luminaries from abroad.