Legendary singer Barbara Cook, 84, was among the five artists who received a 2011 Kennedy Center Honors this week.
The other recipients include Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and Meryl Streep.
The 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors was shown on CBS on Dec. 27. The annual awards are given to individuals for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television.
Cook's Web site stated that she has been singing for audiences around the world for more than 50 years. It also noted that she was considered Broadway's favorite ingenue during the heyday of the Broadway musical.
What an amazing thing to have this validation from the Kennedy Center Honors Committee. And I am so moved to be included in the extraordinary group of artists who have been honored in the past, Cook stated on her Web site in regards to receiving the honor. Barbara Cook and Fred Astaire? There isn't a WOW! big enough.
The Kennedy Center's Web site stated that this year it celebrated its 40th anniversary by selecting those five extraordinary individuals.
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein has said that the recipients' collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world.
With her sublime voice and rich performances, Barbara Cook has defined all that is best and brightest in the Great American Songbook, he said. Neil Diamond's songwriting genius has created one of the most enduring catalogs of American popular music and his live performances have captivated audiences for five decades.
Yo-Yo Ma's sterling musicianship makes him one of the most versatile and popular classical music performers in the world and his Silk Road Project has inspired students across the world to love and honor music, he continued. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins' masterful improvisation and powerful presence have infused the truly American art form of jazz with passion and energy. The sheer brilliance and breadth of Meryl Streep's performances count as one of the most exhilarating cultural spectacles of our time.