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There is no minimum required financial commitment to be a Legacy Society member. If you would like to consider making a planned gift to Washington Performing Arts, or if you have any questions, please contact President Emeritus Douglas H. Wheeler at (202) 533-1874, or email

Legacy Society honors Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Washington Performing Arts' Ambassador of the Arts award


“To have a satisfying career,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, “you have to be something outside yourself—whatever is your passion.” For the Justice, one of those passions has been music, and she has generously demonstrated it throughout her life.

At the presentation of Washington Performing Arts’ third Ambassador of the Arts Award to Justice Ginsburg on the evening of July 9, the Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae, and his wife, Mrs. Nobuko Sasae, welcomed members of Washington Performing Arts' Legacy Society to an intimate musicale and supper at their residence.

Washington Performing Arts’ Ambassador of the Arts Award recognizes extraordinary achievement, service, and advocacy in the performing arts by an individual. Past recipients include Grammy Award-winning soprano Jessye Norman (2013) and legendary pianist, conductor, and educator Leon Fleisher (2014). Justice Ginsburg is notably the first Ambassador of the Arts who has been both a frequent guest at the opera, and the subject of an opera! With this award, we honor her deep love of the arts, as well as the centrality of the arts to her life and family. In addition, as part of the award, Washington Performing Arts and Justice Ginsburg will co-curate a special performance that will be featured during the 2016/17 season.

Featured artists of the event included 13-year-old violinist Runa Matsushita, a past winner of Washington Performing Arts’ Feder String Competition, and soprano Patrice Michaels (also Justice Ginsburg’s daughter-in-law), accompanied by Tomoko Nakayama. After the performance, Justice Ginsburg was interviewed by Nina Totenberg, NPR’s legal affairs correspondent. They chatted about the Justice’s views on dissenting opinions, her deliberate semantics, and her presence in the courtroom, as well as her first and the most memorable opera performances. Ginsburg also gave the guests a small preview of the operatic performance “Law in Opera with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg,” which took place at the Castleton Festival on July 11.

Click here for the complete text of the Ambassador of the Arts Award.
Click here to read Nina Totenberg’s article for NPR about the interview with Justice Ginsburg.