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Lillian Gish Prize awarded to director Peter Sellars

Not only was Lillian Gish born in the right era, but she was also born with the ethereal beauty and grace to make her a star in the silent film industry. Her legacy endures today with the Lillian Gish Prize, one of the largest awards in the arts. Progressive and daring opera director Peter Sellars will be honored with this prestigious prize in an awards ceremony on Sept. 29 at the Hudson Theatre in New York. The award, which recognizes the "trailblazers who have redefined their art and pushed the boundaries of excellence in their field", will receive a silver medallion and a $250,000 cash award.

Sellars started his directing career in the early 1980s and began earning recognition for his talents even before his graduation from Harvard. Critical acclaim was bountiful for many of his early projects, including stagings of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro", "Don Giovanni" and "Cosi fan tutte" at the State University of New York at Purchase. The innovative productions were later broadcasted on PBS. Recently, Sellars has been involved with projects such as the staging of Wagner?s "Tristan und Isolde" and Osvaldo Golijov's "Ainadamar".

The Lillian Gish Prize recognizes outstanding talents from a spectrum of disciplines. There is no application process and the recipient is not determined through a competition. A Lillian Gish Prize Selection Committee that changes every year chooses the recipient. This year, the committee was chaired by playwright David Henry Hwang.

Established in 1994 by the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust, the prize is awarded to "a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind's enjoyment and understanding of life." In her will, Lillian Gish stated: "It is my desire, by establishing this prize, to give recipients of the prize the recognition they deserve, to bring attention to their contribution to society and encourage others to follow in their path."

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