The performance was taped on December 4 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, part of a weekend of celebrations in honor of Sutherland, Williams, pop star Elton John, and actors Warren Beatty, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis.
The gala included appearances by opera icon Marilyn Horne, paying tribute to Sutherland, and film director Steven Spielberg, who helped to honor Williams, a frequent collaborator.
Kennedy Center Honors recipients are recognized for lifetime achievement in American performing arts. The honors were first awarded in 1978. This year's list of honorees was announced in September.
Composer and conductor John Williams, 72, has won five Academy Awards, 17 Grammys, and two Emmys. He is the composer of a number of concert works, but is best known for his film scores, which include the Star Wars trilogy, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and, more recently, Minority Report and Catch Me if You Can. He is also conductor laureate of the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Australian soprano Joan Sutherland, 77, was already a star when she made her United States debut in 1960. A principal at the Metropolitan Opera for more than 25 years, Sutherland recorded extensively and is known for her longtime collaboration with her husband, musician and composer Richard Bonynge.