British architect Richard Rogers and American lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim were among five artists named Wednesday as recipients of the 12th Prince Takamatsu Memorial Prize for outstanding achievement.
Also named were American painter Ellsworth Kelly, 77, German composer Hans Werner Henze, 74, and French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, 69.
Each of the winners will receive 15 million yen in prize money at an awards ceremony today at Meiji Kinenkan in Tokyo.
Rogers, 67, is a renowned master of high-tech architecture who uses innovative technology with great beauty and skill. He is known for two world-famous landmarks: the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London.
“I’m really honored to be here among other winners,” Rogers told a press conference Wednesday at a Tokyo hotel. “I am especially pleased to be in Japan because the roots of what I do, the modern architecture, comes from this country.
“I was just at Katsura Palace, which is a totally 20th- and 21st-century building. It may be 400 years old, but all the concepts we have today are rooted in that building and in that period.”
Sondheim, 70, is known for creating the lyrics to the musical masterpiece “West Side Story” and composing other famous musicals, including “A Little Night Music” and “Sunday in the Park With George.”
Sondheim, who has won many other awards, was credited with taking musical theater in America to new heights.
“I, too, am enormously honored. I saw a work of mine over the weekend. The National Theater has been doing the last month of production of Pacific Overtures, the very first that’s ever been done in Japan, in Japanese, and directed by Mr. (Amon) Miyamoto. It was one of the most thrilling and moving experiences that I’ve ever had. . . . So on top of the honor, I am enormously grateful for the production.”
The award was established in memory of the late Prince Takamatsu, an uncle of the Emperor, and is given annually to outstanding contributors in the world of art.
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