The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' MusiCares Foundation will bestow its annual Person of the Year award on Billy Joel next year. The singer-songwriter will be honored on February 25th at a dinner, concert and silent auction in Los Angeles. The event comes two days before the Grammy Awards, which will be broadcast on CBS.
The award comes in recognition of Joel's musical accomplishments, since his career began -- he has had thirty three Top 40 hits and won five Grammy Awards -- as well as his charitable endeavors. A longtime advocate of music education, Joel has been holding master class sessions -- "An Evening of Questions, Answers . . . and a Little Music" -- on college campuses around the world for the last twenty years. He established the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in New York City and has been a supporter of VH1's Save the Music Program. Joel has also lent his talents to the Make A Wish Foundation and AIDS Project Los Angeles and charitable organizations.
"Billy Joel's gift for lyric and melody rank him among the industry's most talented and accomplished musicians," said NARAS president/CEO Michael Greene. "His musical accomplishments are matched only by his endeavors as an advocate for music education. We truly are privileged to be honoring this gifted human being."
Proceeds from the Person of the Year auction and dinner go towards funding the organization's efforts to provide financial assistance and outreach programs to the musical community.