Tony Bennett Honored with Gershwin Prize

Jan. 9, 2018

Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize
The performing artists join Tony Bennett on-stage during the finale of Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Left to right: Michael Feinstein, Josh Groban, Vanessa Williams, Bruce Willis, Chris Botti, Tony Bennett, Wé McDonald, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Premieres Friday, January 12, 2018, on PBS. Credit: Scott Henrichsen.

Legendary performing artist Tony Bennett receives the 2017 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an all-star concert airing at 9 p.m. on Friday, January 12 at 9 p.m. on PBS stations (check local listings).

The Library of Congress awards the Gershwin Prize to honor a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of a song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertainment and inspiration.

Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Smokey Robinson. Tony Bennett is the first artist known for song interpretation to receive the Gershwin Prize.

“CPB is pleased to support this program, celebrating and sharing with all Americans Tony Bennett’s enduring musical legacy,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Broadcast of the Gershwin Prize is part of public media’s mission to provide high-quality content that educates, informs, engages, and inspires audiences of all generations.”

The concert, hosted by Bruce Willis, features a diverse, star-studded line-up of performers who present many of the familiar tunes Bennett so famously interpreted throughout his seven-decades long career. Chris Botti, Michael Bublé, Gloria Estefan, Michael Feinstein, Savion Glover, Josh Groban, Wé McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lukas Nelson, and Vanessa Williams honor his artistry with memorable duets and solo presentations. Remarks by renowned jazz musician Wynton Marsalis reflected on Bennett’s citizenry, from his work mentoring artists and supporting music education, to supporting the Civil Rights movement.

“Tony Bennett is one of the most accomplished and beloved artists of our time,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “His staying power is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Great American Songbook the Gershwins helped write, and his ability to collaborate with new generations of music icons has been a gift to music lovers of all ages.”

Honoree Tony Bennett with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden as she presents him the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Honoree Tony Bennett with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden as she presents him the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Credit: Cable Risdon Photography.

The program will also air via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.  The concert is co-produced by WETA, Bounce AEG and the Library of Congress with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.