Tony Bennett and Wife, Susan Benedetto, Receive The ASCAP Foundation Champion Award at 15th Annual Awards Ceremony

Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto

Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto
Photo courtesy of Travel Girl

New York, NY, December 8, 2010: The ASCAP Foundation honored vocal great Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, with The ASCAP Foundation Champion Award for their longtime leadership in the effort to make arts education a priority in the nation's public schools. The accolade was presented today during the Foundation's 15th Annual Awards Ceremony, held at the Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City. The invitation-only event, hosted by ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams, also honored a wide variety of Scholarship and Award recipients, all of whom benefit from programs of The ASCAP Foundation.

In 1999, Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto founded Exploring the Arts, a nonprofit organization with the mission of strengthening the role of the arts in public education. Exploring the Arts has grown from serving one New York public high school in its early years to serving seven public high schools in 2010. Exploring the Arts also supports the New York City Department of Education's Summer Arts Institute and produces an educational video series, helping bring master artists into classrooms all over the country. In 2001, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, Susan Benedetto and Tony Bennett also founded a new public high school, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, in Astoria, Queens.

Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in the Astoria section of Queens, New York, the child of an immigrant family. He was given his first big break by Bob Hope in 1949, who invited the young Benedetto to sing at the New York Paramount and renamed him Tony Bennett. Bennett's initial fame came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950s, including such chart-toppers as "Because of You," "Rags To Riches" and a cover of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart." He has placed two-dozen songs in the Top 40, including "I Wanna Be Around," "The Good Life," "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" and his signature hit, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," which earned him two Grammy Awards. Over the years, he has been the recipient of fifteen Grammys. He introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become pop music standards. He has toured the world to sold-out audiences, winning rave reviews whenever he performs. Tony Bennett became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2005, and was named an NEA Jazz Master in January of 2006. Throughout his career, Tony Bennett has always put his heart and time into humanitarian and environmental concerns. The Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta bestowed upon him their "Salute to Greatness Award" for his efforts to fight discrimination. In 2007, the United Nations presented him with their 2007 Humanitarian Award.

Susan Benedetto is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. She has received degrees in History, Social Studies Education and Supervision/Administration from Fordham University and Columbia University's Teachers College. She has taught Social Studies at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts in Manhattan, served as Assistant Principal of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and currently serves as President of Exploring the Arts.

The ASCAP Foundation 2010 Award & Scholarship recipients are:

The ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Lyric Award
Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews, Laura Jansen

The ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award
Rachel Brown

The ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Film & TV Award
Pete Seibert

The ASCAP Foundation Louis Armstrong Scholarships
Chris Adkins, Hyunwoo Han
(in honor of Duke Ellington)
Nathan Kersey-Wilson
(in honor of W.C. Handy)
Chelsea Hamlet

The ASCAP Foundation Charlotte V. Bergen Scholarship
Conrad Tao

The ASCAP Foundation Irving Berlin Summer Camp Scholarship
Sam Pennington

The ASCAP Foundation Leonard Bernstein Award
Josh Hummel

The ASCAP Foundation Boosey & Hawkes Young Composer Award
(in honor of Aaron Copland)
Christopher Krasnow

The ASCAP Foundation Leon Brettler Award
Jenn Bostic

The ASCAP Foundation Irving Burgie Scholarship
Katrina Bello

The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Scholarship
Elvis Krajnak-Vanterpool, Gordan Lam, Michael Lofaso

The ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award
Janet Onyenucheya

The ASCAP Foundation Desmond Child Anthem Award
Kate Ferber

The ASCAP Foundation Cy Coleman Award
Manuel Andr�s Garc�a Orozco

The ASCAP Foundation Eunice & Hal David Merit Award
Michael Mayo

The ASCAP Foundation Fran Morgenstern Davis Scholarship
Kate Davis, Randy Jeter

The ASCAP Foundation John Denver Music Scholarship
Supported by BMG/Cherry Lane
Molly Griggs, Shelley O'Rourke

The ASCAP Foundation Jamie deRoy & friends Award
Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler

The ASCAP Foundation Louis Dreyfus Warner/Chappell City College Scholarship
(in honor of George & Ira Gershwin)
Yoko Laiyo Nakahashi

The ASCAP Foundation Max Dreyfus Scholarship
Joey Contreras

The ASCAP Foundation Fellowship for Composition & Film Scoring
Elizabeth Lim

The ASCAP Foundation Ira Gershwin Scholarship
Juan Lazaro, Jr.

The ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award
John Francis

The ASCAP Foundation Scholarship at Juilliard
Wlad Marhulets

The ASCAP Foundation BMG/Cherry Lane Scholarship in honor of Quincy Jones
Wessell Anderson IV

The ASCAP Foundation Leo Kaplan Award
Takuma Itoh

The ASCAP Foundation Steve Kaplan TV & Film Studies Scholarship
Peter Bateman

The ASCAP Foundation Michelle and Dean Kay Award
Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews

The ASCAP Foundation Leiber & Stoller Music Scholarship
Bryce Milano, Kara Sainz

The ASCAP Foundation Livingston & Evans Music Scholarship
Hannah Swayze

The ASCAP Foundation Frederick Loewe Scholarship
Tyrone Robinson

The ASCAP Foundation Barbara and John LoFrumento Award
Music Conservatory of Westchester Music Therapy Institute

The ASCAP Foundation Michael Masser Scholarship
Melissa Batall�s, Simon Wiskowski

The ASCAP Foundation Henry Mancini Music Fellowship
Kendall Moore, Stephen Wheeler

The ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize
Martin Kennedy

The ASCAP Foundation Rudy Perez Songwriting Scholarship
Christopher Castro

The ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award
Daniel Mat�

The ASCAP Foundation Joe Raposo Children's Music Award
Dan Mackenzie

The ASCAP Foundation Joan and Irwin Robinson Scholarship
Andy Meyers

The ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award
Matthew Sklar & Chad Beguelin

The ASCAP Foundation David Rose Scholarship
Corey Wallace

The ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award
Jesse Elder

About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States.