Pianist/composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn will be honored in an upcoming online event as a 2021 inductee to the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame. The other inductees are legendary lyricist Sammy Cahn and singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester.
Premiering at 8pm November 13th on the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Facebook and YouTube channels, the 2021 Songbook Hall of Fame Virtual Induction also will include video testimonials, interviews and tribute performances by Songbook Foundation founder Michael Feinstein; Manchester; Alyce Claerbaut, niece of the late Strayhorn and president of Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc.; Galen Demus, nephew of Strayhorn and board member of Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc.; Tita Cahn, widow of Sammy Cahn; and rising NYC-based jazz singer Anaïs Reno, an alumna of the foundation’s annual Songbook Academy summer intensive for high school performers.
Besides the video induction, the foundation will unveil new opportunities at TheSongbook.org for viewers to continue celebrating and learning about the musical legacies of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. Videos and interactive learning opportunities will include bassist/composer Marlon Martinez’s Strayhorn Sundays; Songbook Academy masterclass moments with Manchester; a peek at the Emmy Award won by Cahn and frequent collaborator Jimmy Van Heusen for “Love and Marriage,” courtesy of Van Heusen’s great nephew Brook Babcock; music playlists and more.
The program is free to view. For event reminders and viewing links, register at bit.ly/2021SongbookHOF.
The Songbook Hall of Fame celebrates composers, lyricists and performers who have “created the soundtrack of our lives” with their contributions to American popular music. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on factors including musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, and overall musical excellence.
Previous inductees include Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and Rita Moreno.