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Yo-Yo-Ma, Barbara Cook among those receiving 2011 Kennedy Center Honors

The recipients of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors include two giants of classical music and the musical theater: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and vocal artist Barbara Cook. Excellent choices by any measure.

Yo-Yo Ma has not just maintained a compelling level of artistry, but also has helped spread the gospel of classical music and reached out across many a cultural boundary with his extraordinary Silk Road Project.

Barbara Cook not only left a brilliant imprint on the musical theater, and also remains one of the most insightful and moving interpreters of that repertoire and the rest of the Great American Songbook.

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Not that the rest of the Honors list isn't also top-drawer:

Singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, saxophonist/composer Sonny Rollins, and actress Meryl Streep.

The 34th annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala will be held Dec. 4 and broadcast on CBS on Dec. 27.

STF/AFP/Getty Images

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