Herbie Hancock attends the 17th annual Keep Memory Alive 'Power of Love Gala' benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health celebrating the 80th birthdays of Quincy Jones and Sir Michael Caine at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Herbie Hancock attends the 17th annual Keep Memory Alive ‘Power of Love Gala’ benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health celebrating the 80th birthdays of Quincy Jones and Sir Michael Caine at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (April 13, 2013)

*Pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock and musician/songwriter Carlos Santana will be among the chosen few for the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that Hancock and Santana were selected alongside pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine and opera singer Martina Arroyo for the 36th annual national celebration of the arts.

In a statement, Hancock said he was “overwhelmed with emotion and, frankly, speechless when I was told that I was selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree. This is a most coveted award. To realize that my name will be among those whose outstanding work in the performing arts I most admire is very humbling.”

The honorees will be saluted during a star-studded celebration at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 15. The gala will be taped to air at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Dec. 29 on CBS.

It’s a weekend of festivities that includes a dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and a pre-gala reception at the White House with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Previous honorees include Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Martin, Chita Rivera and Morgan Freeman.