Entries in Yo-Yo Ma (2)


Obama Applauds Kennedy Center Honorees for ‘Lifetime of Greatness’

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama thanked each of the five 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees for their contributions to the arts and congratulated them on a “lifetime of greatness” in a ceremony held Sunday in the East Room of the White House.

“Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’re over the hill, it just means they’ve come a long way,” the president said.  “At first glance, the men and women on this stage could not be more different -- they come from different generations, different walks of life … and yet, they belong here together because each of tonight’s honorees felt the need to express themselves and share that expression with the world.”

Broadway star Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz musician Sonny Rollins, and actress Meryl Streep were the honorees.

“Neil Diamond’s career began like so many others -- trying to impress a girl,” Obama said.  “Now, Neil is the rare musician whose music can be heard everywhere from kids movies to Red Sox games.”

Speaking of Rollins, the president got a laugh describing the saxophone player’s hijinks as a teenager.

“When Sonny Rollins was growing up, his friends would sneak into clubs by drawing mustaches on their faces with eyebrow pencils,” Obama said with a chuckle.  “Did that work?”

Obama noted that at age 15, Meryl Streep earned the role of Marian the Librarian in her high school’s production of The Music Man, the role fellow honoree Barbara Cook originated and for which she won a Tony Award.

“There’s a theme here,” Obama said.

And about White House frequenter Yo-Yo Ma, Obama joked that he was there so often, he needs his own room.

“The Red Room, The Blue Room, and the Yo-Yo Ma room,” Obama said.

Noteworthy guests for the president’s remarks included ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, Robert De Niro, Sara Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, John Lithgow, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Smokey Robinson, Florence Henderson, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Julie Chen and Les Moonves.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fifteen to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The White House Wednesday released the names of 15 people who will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom early next year. The Medal of Freedom is considered to be the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place,” Obama said in a statement.
The award will be presented at a White House ceremony early next year to the following individuals: 

President George H. W. Bush
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Republic of Germany
Congressman John Lewis
John H. Adams
Maya Angelou
Warren Buffett 
Jasper Johns 
Gerda Weissmann Klein
Dr. Tom Little (posthumous)
Yo-Yo Ma
Sylvia Mendez
Stan Musial
Bill Russell
Jean Kennedy Smith
John J. Sweeney

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio