Midori and Joan Baez to share Kennedy Center award

Midori and Joan Baez to share Kennedy Center award


norman lebrecht

January 13, 2021

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced five Honorees at the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.

The awards, usually held in December, have been postponed due to Covid until May 2021, when it is possible that President Biden will attend.

Those being honoured are the choreographer and actress Debbie Allen; singer Joan Baez; country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks; violinist Midori; and actor Dick Van Dyke.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Divk Van Dyke – always one of my favorites.

  • A.L. says:

    What has Midori done for the last 30 years? 50 for Baez.

  • MacroV says:

    I have nothing against Midori, but she’s still kind of young to get the honor (she’s getting it ahead of Joshua Bell, though he doesn’t have the same teaching/mentoring legacy).

    Dick Van Dyke is also a fitting choice, but I’m still waiting for the Smothers Brothers. Would be a most appropriate choice right now, especially.

  • fflambeau says:

    All deserve such a high award.

  • buxtehude says:

    What purpose do these stupid government medals serve? At least they’re not titles . . .

    • Tiredofitall says:

      It’s an attempt to promote arts and culture to the US population. Limited reach, but a welcome effort.

      • buxtehude says:

        I’m sure you’re right, that it is such an attempt, but I can’t see it achieving anything good — just a lot of wasted buzzing-around-effort and an encouragement for artists to curry favor. You may say, Joan Baez? but all the same. . .

  • PaulD says:

    Planning for May is pretty optimistic. Since Dick Van Dyck is 95 years old, perhaps they can arrange a private ceremony for him.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    Congratulations to Midori!

  • James Weiss says:

    The first honorees were Marian Anderson, Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, Artur Rubinstein, and Richard Rodgers. Now that’s talent.

    This year’s bunch is 3rd rate at best.

    • Bill says:

      If you think the standards have slipped there, you should check out the recent recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom! A hate-filled talk radio host, a wrestling coach who protected for a doctor accused of sexual abuse, and a bunch of political hacks who need to be repaid for favors.

    • MacroV says:

      The first time, they had a big backlog. 40+ years later, lots of people have been honored, so less backlog. But they’re all great, consequential artists, though I still think Midori is still too young and mid-career; maybe in another 20 years.

      If you want a match for Richard Rogers, well, there’s Stephen Sondheim. Oh wait! He was honored in 1993!

  • JussiB says:

    I wonder if they would withdraw the medal if they knew you’re pro-Trump. All these award trophies are politically motivated including the Nobel.