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Renee Fleming joins Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick in Kennedy Center honor

Soprano Renee Fleming, who grew up in Churchville and is an Eastman School of Music graduate, is among the latest artists to be honored by the Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center
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Soprano Renee Fleming, who grew up in Churchville and is an Eastman School of Music graduate, is among the latest artists to be honored by the Kennedy Center

Opera star Renée Fleming, who grew up in Churchville and graduated from the Eastman School of Music, has added another accolade to a long list of accomplishments: the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime artistic achievement.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the 46th Honorees for lifetime artistic achievements on Thursday: actor and comedian Billy Crystal; Barry Gibb of the BeeGees; Queen Latifah; singer Dionne Warwick, and celebrated soprano, Renee Fleming.

In an interview with WXXI’s Julia Figueras back in 2016, Fleming described her experiences at Eastman as “sparking her intellectual curiosity as a musician” - something she now shares through her performances, teaching, and commissioning new music.

“We belong to this spectacular tapestry of work, both composers and performers, and one of the real joys is being able to be a part of that continuum,” said Fleming.

In a statement released Thursday by the Kennedy Center, Fleming said it was "thrilling" to "join the company of legendary artists who have received this recognition." She said that the award "demonstrates the richness and range of the performing arts in our country."

The awards will air on CBS and stream on Paramount+ on Dec. 3. They will be hosted by singer Gloria Estefan, who was honored in 2017.

Renée Fleming returns to Rochester in September to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre.

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein at 12:10 p.m. Wednesdays, interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.