On Monday night dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham was presented the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, as recognition for his "significant commitment to the arts and contributions to society." Cunningham is often considered to be one of the most innovative and influential figures in modern dance. He was the partner and lover to composer John Cage, with whom he developed a number of pioneering techniques, using the I Ching and "chance operations". Approaching ninety, Cunningham is no longer able to dance, but continues to choreograph with the aid of computer software, and has recently worked with Sigur Rós and Radiohead.
Other recipients of the award include color field artist Helen Frankenthaler, set designer Ming Cho Lee and soprano Jessye Norman.