To mark its 40th anniversary, the Kennedy Center announced Wednesday, it is starting a free ticket giveaway for performances in the 2011-2012 season.

Interested participants have to register, starting Thursday at 10 a.m. to win a pair of tickets for all center presentations, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor or the season opening gala of the National Symphony Orchestra.

There will be music and perhaps for free. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

All in all, the center promises to distribute 1,200 tickets.

In other ticket news, the center announced a program called “MyTix,” which will offer discounts to 18-30 year-olds and active duty members of the Armed Forces. This offer also requires a registration at a website that will be launched September 19.

“MyTix” is part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program and is funded by the center chairman David M. Rubenstein and his wife Alice Rubenstein. The program will also reach the underserved population, a goal of David Rubenstein, and all registered participants will be eligible for complimentary and last-minute tickets to some performances.

Last year one of the Kennedy Center Honorees was Merle Haggard. Here is a glimpse of Vince Gill and Brad Paisley saluting Haggard.