National Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin was among 10 arts professionals awarded the National Medal of Arts yesterday. Others include country singer George Strait, childrens' author Beverly Cleary, dancer Suzanne Farrell, choreographer Tommy Tune and director Ron Howard.
Considered the government's major honor in the arts, the medal goes to U.S. individuals or groups making outstanding contributions to the enhancement and growth of the arts.
"The arts are an invaluable source of this country's vast creative output. To be recognized for any part of that spirit is indeed a humbling honor," the Washington conductor said in a statement. Slatkin, a five-time Grammy winner, has been with the NSO since 1996.
The selection process goes from public nominations to recommendations by the National Council on the Arts. The president makes the final decision.
Slatkin next leads the NSO Nov. 20-22 at the Kennedy Center.