Tony Bennett Honored for Distinguised Artistic Leadership

Tony Bennett is an artist who moves the hearts and touches the souls of audiences. He is not just the singer’s singer, but also an international treasure honored by the United Nations with its Citizen of the World award, which aptly describes the scope of his accomplishments.

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2013 Distinguished Leadership Awards

With worldwide record sales in the millions, Bennett has received seventeen Grammy Awards including the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. One of only a few artists to have albums chart in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and the new millennium, he has introduced multitudes of songs into the Great American Songbook that have become pop music standards. Upon the release of his boxed set collection, Tony Bennett: The Complete Collection, the New York Times commented, “we aren’t likely to see a recording career like this again.” Bennett made music history when he became the oldest artist, at the age of 86, to achieve a number one record on the Billboard charts with his Duets II album.

In addition to his musical achievements, Bennett is a Kennedy Center Honoree, an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, and his primetime special “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” won seven Emmy Awards in 2007. He has also authored four books, his official biography, two books devoted to his artwork, and the latest New York Times bestseller, Life Is A Gift. A dedicated painter, Bennett’s original paintings are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Throughout his career, Bennett has always put his heart and time into humanitarian concerns. He has raised millions for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and his original paintings each year grace the cover of the American Cancer Society’s holiday greeting card. He received Martin Luther King Center’s Salute to Greatness Award for his efforts to fight discrimination, having marched with Dr. King in 1965.

In honor of his great friend and staunchest supporter, Frank Sinatra, Bennett established the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in 2001, a New York City high school offering an extensive arts curriculum. In 2009, a permanent site for the school opened in Bennett’s hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife Susan, they founded Exploring the Arts, which supports the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and provides support to arts education in public schools.