Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, which manages the nomination process, said, "These individuals and organizations have all made enduring contributions to the artistic life of our nation ... their work has enriched our national culture."
The National Medal of Arts was established by Congress in 1984. Each year, the NEA seeks nominations, which are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, the Endowment's presidentially-appointed advisory body. The President makes the final selections.
The other winners were, dancer Cyd Charisse, photographer Roy R. DeCarava, arts patron Wilhelmina Holladay, literary translator Gregory Rabassa, industrial designer/sculptor Viktor Schreckengost and bluegrass musician Dr. Ralph Stanley.
William Bolcom, born in 1938, has written numerous compositions, including four violin sonatas, eight symphonies, three operas, 11 string quartets and two film scores. His New Etudes for Piano won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988; the 2004 Naxos recording of his Songs of Innocence and Experience received four Grammy Awards.
The Interlochen Center for the Arts, founded in 1928 in northern Michigan, encompasses a 2,000-student summer camp, a fine arts and college preparatory high school, and a K-8 day school. Each year, Interlochen educates more than 2,500 high school students from every state and more than 40 countries and provides scholarships and financial aid totaling $6 million to more than half of its students.
Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel has been associated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for 40 years and has made 83 recordings on the Telarc label. For four consecutive years he was Billboard Magazine's Classical Crossover Artist of the Year.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, founded in 1961, derives its name from Preservation Hall, the music venue located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The band is currently directed by Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, and has played Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and for British and Thai royalty.