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National Endowment for the Arts Announces Lifetime Achievement Honorees

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The National Endowment for the Arts has named eighteen artists, including composer Philip Glass and the Marsalis Family, as lifetime achievement honorees.

Each year, NEA awards artists who have made significant contributions in their fields with $25,000 each. There are three categories of awards: Jazz Masters, National Heritage Fellows, and Opera Honorees.

Ellis, Jr., Wynton, Delfayo, Jason and Branford Marsalis are among this year's Jazz Masters. Patriach Ellis Marsalis, Jr. has been performing jazz for much of his life, beginning in the 1930s in New Orleans. In a statement on the NEA website, Ellis said he was humbled by the award: "I hope my sons and I continue to exemplify the quality of excellence in the work that is expected from the recipient of such an honor."

National Heritage Fellows include a diverse selection of artists, from Ghanaian drummer Yacub Andy, to Irish flutist Mike Rafferty, all of whom NEA recognized for "their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage."

Opera honorees include directors, composers and singers, including famed composer Philip Glass. Glass' illustrious career includes numerous nominated and award-winning scores. He won the Golden Globe for composing an original score for "The Truman Show" in 1998.

A separate celebration will be held for each category, beginning with an event for the National Heritage Fellows at the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland on September 24. The Opera Honorees will be recognized at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on October 22, and the Jazz Masters will be honored at Lincoln Center in New York City on January 11.