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Meryl Streep and Neil Diamond to receive Kennedy Center Honors

Meryl Streep at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards 
The rumor turns out to be true: Meryl Streep is among the newest batch of luminaries to receive Kennedy Center Honors. Other recipients will be singers Neil Diamond and Barbara Cook, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins.

This marks the 34th year that the laurels have been bestowed and broadcast on CBS. This year's ceremony will take place on Dec. 4 and will be telecast on Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. PST/EST.

Recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television — and are selected by the center’s board of trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence.

"This year, the Kennedy Center selects five extraordinary individuals whose collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

“With her sublime voice and rich performances, Barbara Cook has defined all that is best and brightest in the Great American Songbook. 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. 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."

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Meryl Streep shows off her trophy at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times

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