Friday, December 19, 2014

Festival Impresario George Wein Honored with The Recording Academy® Trustees Award

George Wein, world-renowned founder and producer of the Newport Jazz Festival®, Newport Folk Festival®, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival® and numerous other music events, will receive The Recording Academy® Trustees Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in areas other than performance. The award will be presented at a special invitation-only ceremony on Saturday, February 7, 2015 and acknowledged during the 57th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, which will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 8, at 8:00 pm ET on the CBS Television Network. 

Wein joins iconic pop music producer Richard Perry (Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr) and the stellar song-writing duo of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," "On Broadway," "Just Once") as 2015 Trustees Award recipients. 

"I am thrilled to receive this recognition for my life's work, and I am grateful that The Recording Academy selected me to join this year's remarkable recipients," said Wein. "It is also an honor to celebrate the same award that has been presented to outstanding music leaders, and friends, including Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Allen Toussaint, Marian McPartland, Norman Granz, John Hammond  and countless others." 

Over the years, this Special Merit Award has been bestowed upon Stephen Sondheim, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Frank Sinatra, Clive Davis, Cole Porter, Dick Clark, Johnny Mercer, George and Ira Gershwin, Don Cornelius, Steve Jobs, Holland/Dozier/Holland, The Beatles, Rudy Van Gelder, Bruce Lundvall, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Thomas A. Dorsey and other individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of recording. 

"This year we pay tribute to exceptional creators who have made prolific contributions to our culture and history," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "It is an honor and a privilege to recognize such a diverse group of talented trailblazers, whose incomparable bodies of work and timeless legacies will continue to be celebrated for generations to come." 

George Wein, chairman of the Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., is considered to be as much a legend as his festivals.  He has spearheaded hundreds of music events since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival® - an event which started the festival era. Five years later, Wein and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival®. In 1970, Wein founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  On December 11, Wein celebrated the opening of the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, which is the education and community arm of the  New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

He pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events, beginning with The Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival. His company went on to produce events for JVC, Mellon Bank, Verizon, Essence, Ben & Jerry's, CareFusion, Natixis Global Asset Management and others. 

As he approaches his 90th birthday, Wein has as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals and advanced the concept of live music. He created the Newport Festivals Foundation in 2010 to continue the legacies of the famed Jazz and Folk festivals, and continues to lead a team of seasoned professionals to produce both events every summer.

A result of his diverse contributions to jazz and world culture, Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions and leading publications.  He is an NEA Jazz Master (Jazz Advocate), and in 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and New Englander of the Year from the New England Council. In 2012 Wein was given the APAP Award of Merit for Achievement in Performing Arts. In addition, honors and awards have been bestowed upon him by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, AARP, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the French Legion d'Honneur. Wein is a lifetime Honorary Trustee of Carnegie Hall and a member of the Board of Trustees at Jazz @ Lincoln Center.

In addition to his work as a producer, George Wein is an accomplished jazz pianist, whose group, Newport All-Stars has toured around the world and has featured some of the greatest musicians in the history of jazz.

Wein's autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (Da Capo Press), which chronicles his life in jazz, was recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association as 2004's best book about jazz. In addition to his life in jazz, Mr. Wein has a long history of involvement with philanthropy and the arts, including the establishment of the Joyce and George Wein Chair of African American Studies at Boston University, the Alexander Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simmons College and an annual artist prize given through the Studio Museum in Harlem in honor of his late wife, Joyce Alexander Wein.

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