The Trustees and The Friends of Town Hall are thrilled to announce that this year’s FRIEND OF THE ARTS AWARD – it’s 97th annual – will honor Multimedia Performance Artist, LAURIE ANDERSON; TheaterWorksUSA Co-Founder, CHARLES HULL; and Nonesuch Records’ Long-Time President, ROBERT HURWITZ.

The gala event will be at the PRINCETON CLUB, 15 West 43rd Street, New York City, on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2018 beginning at 4:00 PM.

The cocktail reception, dinner, and award presentation also feature performances by SOFIA REI, ANAT COHEN, and EDMAR CASTANEDA. The event is Business Attire.

Every year since 1981, Town Hall honors “Friends of the Arts,” individuals or organizations whose contributions to the arts enrich New York City’s cultural life.  Honorees of this prestigious award read like a who’s who of New York’s cultural skyline: Tony Bennett, Victor Borge, Barbara Cook, Theodore Bikel, Betty Comden, Fyvush Finkel, Roberta Flack, Adolph Green, Dizzy Gillespie, Sheldon Harnick, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Helen Hayes, Celeste Holm, Anne Jackson, Morris W. Offit, Joseph Papp, Daryl Roth, Vincent Sardi, Jr., Gerald Schoenfeld, Martin E. Segal, Sir George Shearing, Bobby Short, Beverly Sills, Elaine Stritch, Meryl H. Tisch, Eli Wallach, Wendy Wasserstein, Mortimer Zuckerman, and Lawrence C. Zucker.

Town Hall – located in the heart of the Broadway theater district – has played an integral part itself in electrifying the cultural fabric of New York City for nearly a century. The stunning theater and beautiful building were designed by renowned architects, McKim, Mead & White, and served as a hub for The League for Political Education to bring together people of all walks of life to discuss important issues of the day. The design of the building – eliminating box seats and obstructed views – gave birth to the term “Not a bad seat in the house.” During completion of the building, the 19th Amendment was passed (women’s right to vote), and on January 12, 1921 The Town Hall opened its doors fostering a new, more optimistic climate.

For further information, please contact Jay Michaels at 646-338-5472or at JMAE.events@gmail.com

THIS YEAR’S FRIENDS OF THE ARTS HONOREES:

ONE OF America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers, LAURIE ANDERSON is as diverse as she is prolific. Laurie has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. In the early ‘70s, Laurie burst onto the New York avant-garde/music/art/performance scene and quickly acquired a fervent following in the underground arts community. Her recording career took off in 1981, when her song “O Superman” rose to #2 on the British pop music charts, leading to a seven-album deal with Warner Brothers. A deluxe box set of her Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. The following year, she released her first record forNonesuch Records, “Life on a String.” A year later, Live in New York, recorded at Town Hall, was released. Laurie has toured the United States and abroad numerous times withshows that range from simple spoken word performances to highly elaborate multimedia events like United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999-2000). Her visual work has been presented in major museums in the United States and Europe. As a composer, Laurie contributed music to films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, and Molissa Fenley; a score for Robert LePage’s theater production, Far Side of the Moon; and pieces for National Public Radio, the BBC, and Seville’s Expo ‘92. Laurie is recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts. In the late ’90s, as a collaborator with Interval Research Corporation—a laboratory founded by Paul Allen and David Liddle—she created the Talking Stick, a six-foot-long MIDI controller that she used in the MobyDick tour. In 2002, she was appointed the first-ever artist-in-residence at NASA, a stint that yielded her 2004 solo piece, The End of the Moon. In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. Her Habeas Corpus exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory in 2016 garnered Yoko Ono’s annual Courage Award for the Arts. Laurie’s film and visual projects include numerous videos, the high definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, a series of audio-visual installations, Heart of a Dog and Chalkroom, a virtual reality collaboration with Hsin-Chien Huang which received Best VR Experience at the Venice Film Festival 2017. Laurie has performed at The Town Hall over four decades.

ORIGINALLY from Vienna, Austria, CHARLES HULL was stationed in England serving in the U.S. Air Force when he accompanied a fellow officer to an audition of Stalag 17. He wound up scoring his first role in a theatrical production. In 1960, Hull moved to New York and was featured in many TV commercials and off-Broadway productions prior to founding TheaterWorksUSA, with Jay Harnick, in 1961. Under his 39-year tenure, TheaterWorksUSA grew to become America’s largest and foremost Equity theatre for children and family audiences. Its mission is to create imaginative and sophisticated shows that are both entertaining and thought provoking, and to ensure that those shows are accessible to audiences across America. The company has reached over 100 million people in 49 states and Canada, and now performs for over two million young people annually, selecting shows from its ever-growing repertoire of 133 plays and musicals. TheaterWorksUSA has a distinguished history of not only providing young audiences with their first taste of the performing arts, but also giving young actors, writers, directors and designers an early opportunity to work in their field. Hull’s most notable achievements for TheaterWorksUSA include initiating a subscription series in a prestigious off-Broadway theater; and developing a field trip program, initially at Town Hall, and then spreading across the country, reaching millions of kids every year. Hull was also President of the Producers League of Theatre for Young Audiences, President of Producers Association of Children’s Theatre (PACT), and was awarded the Medal of Honor from the Actor’s Fund.

For 32 years, ROBERT HURWITZ was president of Nonesuch Records, arguably one of the most diverse and influential record labels in the world. In 1984, when Bob took over Nonesuch, it was primarily a classical music label and home of the Explorer series. He proceeded to vastly expand the company’s catalogue by adding jazz, rock, folk, bluegrass, musical theater, and modern world music. Among the many composers, musicians, songwriters, and performers he has signed, produced or worked with are: John Adams, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Caetano Veloso, Astor Piazzolla, Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile, Pat Metheny, Josh Redman, Bill Frisell, Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, Gidon Kremer, Randy Newman, The Magnetic Fields, k.d. lang, The Punch Brothers, Natalie Merchant, and Lake Street Dive. As well as this year’s co-honoree, Laurie Anderson. Now, as Chairman Emeritus of Nonesuch Records, Bob remains closely involved with many of the artists he brought to the company, serving as an Executive Producer for a dozen projects a year. Bob is the Aaron Copland Chair at the New School College of Performing Arts, where he has taught for the past 12 years and for the last two years as a Visiting Professor at UCLA.

PERFORMANCES THAT EVENING BY:

Award winning vocalist, songwriter and producer SOFIA REI is considered one of the most passionate, and inventive vocalists on the current music scene. Her music explores connections between the various traditions of South American folklore, jazz, flamenco and electronic sounds. Originally from Buenos Aires, Sofia ties together diverse influences in a program full of rhythmic complexity, and a melodic purity that haunts even as it uplifts. Her collaboration with Geoffrey Keezer, earned her a Grammy Nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album of 2009.

Clarinetist-saxophonist ANAT COHEN has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive artistry and delightful stage presence. The Jazz Journalists Association has voted Anat as Clarinetist of the Year nine years in a row, and she has topped both the Critics and Readers Polls in the clarinet category in DownBeat Magazine every year since 2011. She has been named Rising Star in the soprano and tenor saxophone categories in DownBeat, as well as Jazz Artist of the Year.

Since arriving in the United States in 1994, Colombian-born harp virtuoso EDMAR CASTANEDA has forged his own distinctive path in music. His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of formidable collaborations. Acclaimed as a master of realizing beautiful complexities of time, his dynamic spirit and unbelievable feats of cross-rhythms, layered with chordal nuances has made him one of this generation’s most celebrated flamenco guitarist.

TOWN HALL BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Tom Wirtshafter, President
Marvin Leffler, President Emeritus
Susan Zohn, Executive Vice President
Alfred H. Horowitz, Vice President
Bruce Leffler, Vice President
Andrew T. Miltenberg, Treasurer
Phyllis Putter Barasch, Secretary
Robert E. Evanson, Anne Frank-Shapiro, Alfred H. Horowitz, Stephen C. Jacobs, Henry Johansson, Ted Lambert, Rita Robbins, Madhu Southworth, Nevin Steinberg

LIFE TRUSTEES: Leona Chanin, Eugene J.T. Flanagan, Claire G. Miller

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Kathleen Rosenberg, Chair
Nancy Berman, Shauna Denkensohn, Sandy Horowitz, Elizabeth Iannizzi, Claire Miller, Melanie Sawyer Richardson, Zita Rosenthal, Rhoda Rothkopf

ARTS IN EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL: Dr. Charlotte K. Frank, Chair
Dr. Sharon Dunn, Michael Fram, Gary Hecht, Ernest Logan, Dr. Lisa Mars, Dr. Pola Rosen, Manuel Urena, George Young

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