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Folk legend Pete Seeger honored by arts academy

Wednesday - 4/25/2012, 7:54am  ET

By HILLEL ITALIE
AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Folk music legend Pete Seeger has won a prize and he might just sing a song to celebrate.

The 92-year-old troubadour is receiving a "Distinguished Service" award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to academy executive director Virginia Dajani, Seeger might perform at the May 16 ceremony, where playwright Tony Kushner will present Seeger a certificate and a check for $1,000. In an acceptance letter sent to the academy, and shared with The Associated Press, Seeger wrote that his father, Charles Louis Seeger, Jr., would have been "especially pleased." The elder Seeger was a composer, conductor and pioneer of "ethnomusicology."

"I am glad we are all realizing that the arts, in a broad sense, may save the world, save the human race," Pete Seeger wrote to the academy.

Also Wednesday, the academy announced that a pair of Pulitzer Prize winners and academy members will receive gold medals for lifetime achievement: David McCullough for biography and Steven Reich for music. Because academy members are eligible for the medals, no cash prize is awarded.

The arts academy is an honorary society founded in 1898. It has a core membership of 250 writers, artists and musicians, including McCullough, Reich, Toni Morrison, Jasper Johns and Ornette Coleman


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)