The ASCAP Foundation has announced that recording artist, songwriter and social justice activist Natalie Merchant will be recognised with its Champion Award.
Francisco Núñez, composer, conductor, artistic director and founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, will accept the ASCAP Foundation Life in Music Award at the ASCAP Foundation Honours on December 11 in New York City.
“Natalie Merchant has lent her name and voice to the causes of environmental protection, domestic violence, racism, arts education and more, and Francisco Núñez has enriched the lives of thousands of children of every cultural and economic background with innovative music education,” said the ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams. “Their passion and commitment to philanthropy are sterling examples of how the creative community can step forward to improve the human condition. They ‘walk the walk’ and are inspirations for all of us.”
The Champion Award was established by the ASCAP Foundation to celebrate ASCAP members whose contributions extend beyond music to significant charitable and humanitarian efforts. Previous members who have received the award include Tony Bennett, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Billy Joel, Richard Marx, John Mellencamp, Jason Mraz and Ne-Yo.
Known for her solo career and as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant has supported a variety of non-profit organisations both financially and by raising public awareness. They include Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, The Center for Constitutional Rights, Doctors Without Borders, Tibet House, Greenpeace, the Southern Center for Human Rights and Planned Parenthood.
The Life in Music Award is presented by the ASCAP Foundation to an ASCAP writer member for his or her outstanding accomplishments as a composer, songwriter, performer, arranger or vocalist in any genre. Previous award winners include Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, jazz composer and bandleader Maria Schneider, choral music composer Morten Lauridsen and songwriter, musician and activist Jesse
Since founding YPC in 1988, Núñez has created an awareness of the ability of children to rise to unforeseen artistic heights and has been praised by The New York Times for “raising the bar [for children’s choruses] by commissioning a steady stream of works from composers who usually write for adults.”
In addition to celebrating music creators, the ASCAP Foundation Honours recognises its 2019 high school and college scholarship and award recipients. The evening will also feature performances by rising talent in various musical genres.