Kennedy Center Honors 2016

James Taylor: “I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century.”

martha-argerichAs I’ve noted often in this space, I watch the Kennedy Center Honors every year. It’s like a well-oiled machine, with the event taking place in early December (this year Sunday, December 4), then edited down for broadcast in a two-hour slot on CBS-TV the week between Christmas and New Year’s (this time, Tuesday, December 27. 9-11 p.m. EST).

The host of CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert, will return to emcee the Kennedy Center Honors 2016; this is his third consecutive year. This year’s honorees are Al Pacino, Martha Argerich, Mavis Staples, and James Taylor and the Eagles.  Generally, the President and First Lady sit in the box seats with the honorees, while others sing, dance, or speak in tribute to the honorees.

Martha Argerich – the one person I must admit I did not know about. This Washington Post title is interesting: Martha Argerich is a legend of the classical music world. “But she doesn’t act like one.” She says:

“‘But I don’t understand, because I think I haven’t done much in America.'”

“Not much, that is, apart from appearing with most of the country’s leading orchestras: the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic… Argerich always plays with other people now; she never enjoyed the loneliness of appearing solo on a concert stage, and around 1981 simply decided not to do it anymore… She strides out on stage like someone in a tremendous hurry and plunges right into the music, often leaping up as soon as she has finished.”

LISTEN to Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1. Martha Argerich, piano – Charles Dutoit, conductor (1975)

James Taylor – he’s James Taylor. He has helped honor previous winners such as Yo-Yo Ma, last year’s winner Carole King, and, with Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney. Taylor wrote on his page:

“Having grown up in the confines of Chapel Hill, NC in the 1950’s, I found myself, at the age of 18, on my own in Greenwich Village in the mid-60’s. It was a time of great change, many dangers and near complete freedom, purchased at the cost of any sense of a secure future. I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century. So the prospect of attending the Kennedy Center Honors again, but this time as an honoree, is astonishing. I am deeply moved to be included in such august company and hugely grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for the gift of this great award.”

LISTEN to James Taylor ༺♥༻ Greatest Hits (1976)

Mavis Staples – I wrote about her in 2011 and about the Staple Singers in 2014 (her, her sisters, and her father).

Al Pacino – I have actually seen him in relatively few films.
The Godfather (1972), Serpico (1973), …and justice for all. (1979), Sea of Love (1989), Scent of a Woman (1992) – which I did not much like, The Insider (1999), Danny Collins (2015)

WATCH Top 10 Al Pacino Performances

The Eagles – in anticipation of their award, I wrote about them this past summer

The Kennedy Center Honors 2016 is the 39th annual event.

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