and successful; he also composed his first movie score, Anatomy of a Murder,
to critical acclaim. He received multitudinous honors, including degrees from Howard University and Yale as well as the Preshonors,idential Medal of Honor; was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1970 and subsequently, in 1971, became the first jazz musician member of the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm. In his last decade Ellington devoted himself to liturgical music. Three Sacred Concerts
(1965, 1968, 1973) were performed at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Westminster Abbey and numerous German churches.
Even though these sacred works are rarely performed, Ellington considered them the most important of his compositions. Inasmuch as the Three Sacred Concerts
synthesize Ellington's world-view of spirituality—one filled with compassion, tolerance and forgiveness—with his ground-breaking achievements in jazz composition and promotion, these compositions make a satisfying capstone to a career and life whose reverberations are still felt today—three decades after his death.