WASHINGTON, D.C. - Long recognized as a key figure in the history of the electric guitar and modern audio recording techniques, Frater Les Paul (Gamma-Delta, Univ. of Miami) can now add the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government, the National Medal of Arts, to his already impressive list of achievements. In a ceremony conducted on November 15 in the East Room of the White House, President Bush said of the recipients of the National Medal of Arts (10) and National Humanities Medal (10): "Your accomplishments remind us that freedom of thought and freedom of expression are two pillars of our democracy. These freedoms have helped our nation build some of the finest centers of learning in the world. They've helped inspire new movements in art and literature. And they've helped fill our libraries and museums and theaters with great works for all our citizens to enjoy."
A military aide read the citation that accompanied each recipient's award: "Les Paul. The 2007 National Medal of Arts to Les Paul for his innovation as a musician, his pioneering designs of the electric guitar, and his groundbreaking recording techniques that have influenced the development of American jazz, blues, and pop music, and inspired generations of guitarists."
The highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government, the National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who, in his judgment, "...are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States."
The selection process begins with nominations from the public and various members of the arts community. This year, the public was able to enter a nomination online. The entire list of nominees is then reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which is composed of Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed individuals. After its review, the Council forwards an edited list of nominees to the President from which, along with candidates of the President's own choosing, he selects the recipients.
The now 92-year-old Les Paul is a leading figure in the development of the electric guitar and a number of recording innovations, a well-respected recording artist, and continues to perform on Monday nights at New York City's Iridium Jazz Club.
The Offices of the Grand Chapter extend heartfelt congratulations to Frater Les Paul on this historic occasion.
Adapted from Modern Guitar Magazine Article. If you would like to see your chapter news here, contact Communications Coordinator Tom McAninch.