March 13, 2019 Global Superstars Emilio and Gloria Estefan Honored in Star-Studded Gershwin Prize Tribute

Emmy Award-Winning Gershwin Prize Concert Series on PBS, May 3

Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202) 707-0020 | Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456

Recipients of the 2019 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan. Photo by Alberto Tolot.

Celebrated international superstars Emilio and Gloria Estefan, the 2019 recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, will be applauded and serenaded by some of the nation’s top artists at an all-star celebration in the nation’s capital Wednesday evening, March 13. The extraordinary roster of performers will honor the Estefens and their Cuban-infused sound at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

The tribute concert will feature live appearances by Sarah Chang, Emily Estefan, José Feliciano, Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Gian Marco, Fernando Varela and the original cast members of “On Your Feet!” The hosts for the evening’s festivities will be Oscar winner Rita Moreno and actor Andy García.   

The repertoire of songs will include the 1996 Olympics theme song “Reach,” sung by Cyndi Lauper; “Our Love is Here to Stay,” performed by José Feliciano; Patti LaBelle and NEWorks Voices of America memorializing “Coming Out of the Dark”; Emily Estefan singing “Mi Terra” and “Oye Mi Canto”; and performances by Ana Villafañe and Mauricio Martínez. The Estefans will perform onstage together and Gloria Estefan will also sing her classic hits “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and a Brazilian rendition of her global hit “Conga,” called “Samba.” Integrated with live performances are video tributes from Will Smith, Marc Anthony and Jon Secada.

The PBS broadcast of the concert — “Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — will air at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, May 3 (check local listings), as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will be broadcast at a later date to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.

Celebratory activities honoring the husband-and-wife team started on Monday with the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Emilio Estefan in conversation at a public event in the Library’s Coolidge auditorium. They discussed a variety of subjects, including his early life in Cuba, his experience cultivating talent and his lifelong partnership with his wife and collaborator. The program can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHi2r1h2d3s. During their visit to the nation’s capital, the couple will also tour the Library of Congress’ historic Thomas Jefferson Building, visit the ongoing exhibit “Here to Stay: The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin” and view some rare items in the Library’s vast collections.

Presenting the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to Emilio and Gloria Estefan represents two historic firsts for the prize — the first time it has been awarded to a married couple or to musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent.

“Emilio and Gloria Estefan were perfect choices to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song because their unique sound of Latin rhythms transcends cultural boundaries,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “They personify the ideals of the Gershwin Prize and are true American changemakers, blazing new trails and shaping America for the better with their music, entrepreneurship and activism.”

“Music has always been in my life, the most healing and wonderful and cathartic force,” said Gloria Estefan. “The Gershwin brothers were a huge inspiration to me. …I am beyond honored, especially to be receiving it with the love of my life and, as a couple, it is one of the most special things that I could ever possibly be involved with.”

“It’s been a celebration, a celebration because what we really enjoy and what we really love is music and that’s what makes us so happy,” said Emilio Estefan.

Bestowed in recognition 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 entertainment, information, inspiration and cultural understanding. 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, Smokey Robinson and Tony Bennett.

During tonight’s event, the Estefans will be presented with the prize by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin, U.S. Senate Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Administration Roy Blunt, U.S. Senate Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Patrick J. Leahy, U.S. House of Representatives Chairperson of the Committee on House Administration Zoe Lofgren, and U.S. House of Representatives Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration Rodney Davis. 

Renowned music producer-composer Quincy Jones also will be joining the congressional leadership in presenting the prize.

“Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C., Bounce and the Library of Congress. The executive producers of the program are Dalton Delan, Carla Hayden and Michael Strunsky.  

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is made possible through the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Additional funding this program is provided by The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Fund and The Leonore S. Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, Trustee; AARP, The Buffy and William Cafritz Foundation, Wells Fargo, Thomas V. Girardi and Marjorie and Roy Furman. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines.

The Estefans symbolize the rich cultural diversity of the American musical experience and have made the rhythmic Cuban sound a part of the Great American Songbook. Married since 1978, the Cuban-American Estefans started their extraordinary rise to global fame in 1985 with Miami Sound Machine, creating a unique sound that blended Latin and pop rhythms. Many of their iconic hits, including “Conga,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Get on Your Feet” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” reflected the perfect marriage of creative lyrics, high-octane rhythms and spirited vocals.

 About Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan is one of the most successful crossover artists in Latin music history. She is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and author of two New York Times best-selling children’s books. She has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and achieved 38 #1 hits across the Billboard charts. Her many achievements are a testament to her popularity: an Academy Award-nominated recording, “Music of My Heart”; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Spain’s Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts; and a National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress, among others. She is scheduled to release a new album the first quarter of 2019.

 About Emilio Estefan
A 19-time Grammy Award winner, Emilio Estefan is a musician, songwriter, record and television producer, best-selling author, filmmaker and cultural ambassador. He has shaped and directed the careers of many musical talents, including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Jon Secada, Jennifer López and many others. He was one of the founding leaders of the Latin Grammy Awards, inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and named the first “Person of the Year” by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.  Estefan was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame presented him with its lifetime achievement award.  He was selected as the second vice chair to the Commission for the National Museum of the American Latino by President Barack Obama.  President George W. Bush also appointed him as a member of the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities.

About the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honors living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations of musicians.

In making the selection for the prize, the Librarian of Congress consulted leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the Library’s Music Division, American Folklife Center and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

The Gershwin name is used in connection with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song courtesy of the families of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world —  both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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PR 19-029
2019-03-13
ISSN 0731-3527