Al Pacino, James Taylor, the Eagles named 2016 recipients of Kennedy Center Honors

2016 Kennedy Center Honorees Announced

Al Pacino, James Taylor, the rock band The Eagles, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, and gospel/blues singer Mavis Staples have been named the 2016 recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, in a list weighted toward expertise in the musical arts.

The artists will be celebrated Dec. 4 at a gala presentation that will be broadcast on CBS Dec. 27, according to the Kennedy Center. Now in its 39th year, the event will be produced by White Cherry Entertainment's Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss, the regular producers of the Tony Awards. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are again expected to attend along with other notables from the worlds of showbusiness, politics and business.

Related: Kennedy Center Honors Fetes Legends With Tunes, Tears and Laser

This year's class of honorees represents "spectacular talents" whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society, said Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein.

PHOTOS: A look at this year's honoroees

Kennedy Center Honors 2016
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Kennedy Center Honors 2016
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 04: Al Pacino interacts with the audience at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on June 4, 2016 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Actor Al Pacino is seen on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Singer James Taylor attends the Women's Singles Final match between Roberta Vinci of Italy and Flavia Pennetta of Italy on Day Thirteen of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally manipulated) Actor Al Pacino during An Evening With Al Pacino at Eventim Apollo on May 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Singer-songwriter James Taylor speaks onstage during iHeartRadio ICONS with James Taylor presented by P.C. Richard & Son at iHeartRadio Theater on June 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Al Pacino attends the UK Premiere of 'Danny Collins' at Ham Yard Hotel on May 18, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 24: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to singer-songwriter James Taylor (L) during an East Room ceremony November 24, 2015 at the White House in Washington, DC. Seventeen recipients were awarded with the nationÃs highest civilian honor. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Singer/songwriter James Taylor attends An Evening With James Taylor at the GRAMMY Museum on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Singer/songwriter James Taylor performs at An Evening With James Taylor at the GRAMMY Museum on September 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)

Pacino has portrayed "some of the most powerful characters of our time on both the stage and silver screen," said a statement from the KenCen. It called Taylor "one of the defining musical figures of our time," and lauded Staples for a career that has spanned 60 years while serving as a musical backdrop for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights campaign. It said Argerich's distinguished performances have garnered her reputation as "one of the greatest pianists of the 20th and 21st centuries."

Members of the Eagles (Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh) were initially selected to receive the award last year, but their participation was postponed due to the illness and later death of musician Frey.

The Kennedy Center Honors gala is the institution's premier fundraising event that draws high demand for tickets among the political, showbiz and business elite. It is preceded the previous evening by a private reception and dinner the previous evening at the U.S. State Department, hosted by the U.S. Secretary of State and where honorees are presented with the ribbons they wear during the gala.

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