[TOP: Rita Dove BOTTOM: André Watts]
John Malveaux of www.MusicUNTOLD.com sends his comments on the 2011 National Medal of Arts Awards given by President Barack Obama:
"Congratulation to all 2011 recipients at the White House including:
"Rita Dove for her contributions as an American poet and author. Ms. Dove creates works that are equal parts beauty, lyricism, critique, and politics. Ms. Dove has worked to create popular interest in the literary arts, serving as the United States’ youngest Poet Laureate and advocating on behalf of the diversity and vitality of American poetry and literature. Her 2009 book 'Sonata Mulattica' is about Afro-European violinist George Bridgetower.
"André Watts for his contributions as an American pianist and teacher. Having debuted with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic at the age of 16, Mr. Watts has been a perennial favorite with the most celebrated orchestras and conductors around the world. His superb technique and passionate intensity have been the hallmarks of a 45-year career of recitals, broadcasts, and recordings that have broadly shared his interpretations of an extensive repertory from Mozart through Rachmaninoff.
"Martin Puryear for his contributions as an American sculptor. Mr. Puryear transforms mundane and utilitarian materials – wood, stone, and metal – into evocative talismans that quietly and powerfully explore issues of history, culture, and identity. His unwavering commitment to manual skill and traditional building methods offer a seductive alternative to our increasingly digital world."