This year's recipients: soprano Joan Sutherland, composer John Williams, singer Elton John, and actors Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee: will be saluted the following night at the Kennedy Center Opera House at a gala performance featuring spoken and performed tributes.
The gala follows a reception at the White House with the president and first lady, members of the nominating committee, and Kennedy Center trustees. The weekend concludes with a dinner-dance in the Grand Foyer of the Opera House.
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.
The gala tribute will be broadcast by CBS on December 21 at 9 p.m. EST.