Michael Kaiser’s legacy: No classical artists in Kennedy Center awards

Michael Kaiser’s legacy: No classical artists in Kennedy Center awards


norman lebrecht

September 04, 2014

Still claiming the title of Turnaround King, Michael Kaiser left the Kennedy Center today with a blot on his record. So weak has been the offering in the past year, so enfeebled the directorship, that no classical artist has made it onto the honors board.

The winners are soul singer Al Green, Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, singer-songwriter Sting, dancer Patricia McBride, and comedian Lily Tomlin.

What was Kaiser doing when his mind should have been on the job? Meddling in Philadelphia. Read Peter Dobrin here.



  • Robert Levin says:

    This will not be the case next year with Deborah Rutter now at the helm of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

  • William says:

    As far as I know there is not particular recipe for the honourees. Sometimes there is a classical artist, sometime not. I don’t think Mr Kaisers tenure should be judged on whether by chance a classical artist made it onto the list in his last year or not. And I’d say that attracting artists of the calibre of Sting and and Al Green to your organisations awards is not a sign of an enfeebled directorship.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Sting IS a classical artiste. He “sings” Dowland.

  • Marshall says:

    All these awards should be given every other year-even every 4 yrs. It’s reduced the value of all of them-even the Nobels too-by having to come up with people every year. How can there be a high standard-there just are not enough people of quality-there aren’t that many worthy accomplishments.