Photo by Shawn Miller.
Celebrated performer Tony Bennett salutes the crowd on November 15 after Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and a delegation of Members of Congress presented him with the 2017 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Members who joined Bennett on stage were Rep. Kevin Yoder, U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch; Rep. Gregg Harper, U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the Committee on House Administration and Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress; Rep. Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader; Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, U.S. Senate Member of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress; and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader.
Earlier, during an evening concert in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., some of the nation’s top artists paid homage to Bennett’s extraordinary gift as an interpreter of America’s songbook, showcasing some of his most memorable songs. Performing were Chris Botti, Michael Bublé, Gloria Estefan, Michael Feinstein, Savion Glover, Josh Groban, Wé McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lukas Nelson, Vanessa Williams and Stevie Wonder—a former recipient of the Gershwin Prize—with a special presentation by Wynton Marsalis. Actor Bruce Willis hosted the evening’s festivities, concluded by a performance by Bennett of some of his favorite tunes.
The concert will air on PBS stations nationwide at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, January 12. The program will also be broadcast at a later date on the American Forces Network to the U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
Bestowed in honor of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Gershwin Prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertaining and informing audiences and inspiring new generations. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Smokey Robinson.
Ledward “Led” Kaapana delighted an audience in the Coolidge Auditorium on July 6 with traditional music from Hawaii. A master of the Hawaiian ukulele and slack key guitar, Kaapana has performed in Hawaii and beyond for more than 40 years, perpetuating the musical style and repertoire of his home village, Kalapana, in the southernmost district of […]
The BeauSoleil Quartet performed the lively and soulful music of Louisiana Cajuns on June 28 in the Coolidge Auditorium as part of the Library’s Homegrown Concert Series. For four decades now, the quartet has been taking traditional ingredients—waltzes, two-steps, Cajun French lyrics, hot fiddle licks and irresistible accordion—and spicing them up with eclectic percussion, acoustic […]
The Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers and the Chum Ngek Ensemble performed classical Khmer dance and music in the Coolidge Auditorium on May 25. The program took place as part of the Library’s Homegrown Concert Series and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Legendary singer Gloria Gaynor performed the night away in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building on May 6 to an audience of dancers in glittering halter dresses, platform shoes, and bell bottoms. The dance party ended a daylong celebration of disco culture. It started with a symposium that explored disco’s influence on popular […]
The Library hosted a day of festivities on April 26 to honor Juan Felipe Herrera as he concluded his second term as poet laureate consultant in poetry. Titled “Speak the People/the Spark/el Poema,” the celebration began with a choral performance by the Fresno State Chamber Singers from Fresno, California, Herrera’s home town. In the evening, […]
Today, the Library of Congress announced an exciting upcoming series: “Library of Congress Bibliodiscotheque.” Multiple events from April 12 through May 6 will explore disco culture, music, dance and fashion represented in the national collections. Disco’s influence on popular music and dance since the 1970s will be in focus through film screenings, performances, interviews and a […]
This Friday (Feb. 10) PBS stations nationwide (9 pm Eastern – check your local listings) will share with America the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tribute concert honoring Motown legend Smokey Robinson. It was a great pleasure to host Smokey, Berry Gordy, family and friends at the Library the day before the […]
Smokey Robinson made headlines as the Library celebrated his work and career during the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebration concert. “Amid multiple standing ovations from an audience filled with political dignitaries at DAR Constitution Hall, the Motown star reflected on his humble Detroit roots as he accepted the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” […]
The two-day celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 50-year career—and his selection as the 2016 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—began in the nation’s capital with a touching trip down the keyboard of George Gershwin’s piano and ended with a rollicking concert of his greatest hits. During his visit, Robinson sat down […]