Hall of Fame at Hall of Musical Wonders

by Michael Gross Photographed by Getty for Lincoln Center
Thursday, June 8, 2017

On Tuesday night, the first class of entertainment legends was inducted into Lincoln Center’s new Performing Arts Hall of Fame with an evening of star-studded performances by people who worked with and were inspired by their achievements. Plácido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Leontyne Price, Harold Prince, and Louis Armstrong in a ceremony Hosted by TV news personality Norah O’Donnell and directed by Christopher d’Amboise. The one-night only exclusive celebration raised $1.1 million for the ten arts organizations of Lincoln Center.

Tina Fey, Alan Alda, Renée Fleming, Joel Grey and Denyce Graves (who also performed) were among the evening’s presenters. Performers included Gavin Creel, Jared Grimes, Emily Skinner, the Silk Road Ensemble, and Bria Skonberg. A highlight was Adam Gwon’s original composition for Audra McDonald performed by James Monroe Iglehart, Ashley Brown and Lindsay Mendez, backed by Rosie’s Theater Kids chorus. Operalia Competition singers and vocalists from the Washington National Opera and LA Opera Young Artist programs also performed.

Honorees and presenters alike professed their deep admiration for Lincoln Center and an unwavering belief in the performing arts as a connecting thread for all of humanity. Wynton Marsalis said of his hero Louis Armstrong: “The depth of his humanity is what made him great.” Yo-Yo Ma observed “Music is a human interaction. Think about the power of art for ourselves and our society.” Meanwhile Audra McDonald thanked her Lincoln Center family for giving her the life she is so fortunate to lead.

The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center is the first hall of fame devoted to excellence in the performing arts, and celebrates the achievements of artists and leaders who contributed to genres including music, dance, theater, opera, film, and more.

Its founding members are Gordon J. Davis, Bernard Gerstein, Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Mosher, and Charles Wadsworth. In the audience were Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Chairman Katherine Farley and President Debora L. Spar, along with Gavin Creel, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, Jared Grimes, Heather Headley, Bria Skonberg, Deborah Voigt; and participants in the Louis Armstrong Summer Camp Program.


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