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Home » Orchestra News » Linda Ronstadt, Michael Tilson Thomas Receive Kennedy Center Honors

Linda Ronstadt, Michael Tilson Thomas Receive Kennedy Center Honors


AFM members Linda Ronstadt, of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), and Michael Tilson Thomas, of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), were among the roster of entertainment industry icons who were inducted recently into the Kennedy Center Honors class of 2019.
“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates icons who, through their artistry, have left an indelible stamp on our collective cultural consciousness,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Linda Ronstadt is the defining voice of a generation, spanning genres, languages, and continents … and Michael Tilson Thomas goes far beyond keeping score: he has shaped American music and musical institutions for the 21st century.”
Ronstadt, an AFM member since 1972, has forged a four-decade career which established her as one of the important artists in one of the most creative periods in the history of modern music. Her versatile vocalist’s canvas includes pop, Rock ‘n’ Roll, big band, jazz, opera, Broadway standards, and Mexican and Afro-Cuban influences. Ronstadt has worldwide album sales of more than 50 million, at least 31 gold and platinum records, and 10 Grammy Awards.

Thomas, an AFM member sine 1965, is music director of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), co-founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, and conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. He is an 11-time Grammy Award winner and has, over the course of his career, conducted the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.
Also recognized with Kennedy Center Honors this year were actress Sally Field and the television show Sesame Street.
“In this class of honorees, we are witnessing a uniquely American story: one that is representative of so many cultural touchstones and musical moments that make our nation great,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “When I look at this class, I see the hopes, aspirations, and achievements not just of these honorees, but of the many generations they have influenced and continue to influence. We’re not just looking back; these honorees are urging us to look forward as well.”
The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors recipients recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honoree selection process includes solicitation of recommendations from the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, the artistic community, and the general public.
The Kennedy Center Honors medallions were presented on Saturday, December 7, followed by a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage on December 8.

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