NEW YORK, June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An enthusiastic and loving crowd packed The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center on May 30th when the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute (YMWI) presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to internationally renowned concert pianist, Maestro Byron Janis.
Produced with the support of Yamaha Artist Services, Inc., the celebratory evening highlighted the dazzling international career and personal journey of the legendary virtuoso pianist, world ambassador and composer who, despite multiple hand surgeries, continues to extend his mind-over-matter approach and extraordinary gift to those in need. Janis has led unprecedented advocacy efforts in the field of arthritis, championing the cause of others – especially children – who suffer from the disease and face the challenges of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
In presenting the award to Maestro Janis, Dr. Barry Bittman, neurologist and CEO of the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute said, "YMWI is proud to extend its Lifetime Achievement Award to Byron Janis. Our rationale can be summed up from three perspectives. As a musician, I recognize Byron's immense creativity and unparalleled virtuosity as pure genius. As a physician, I'm inspired by his relentless will to persevere against what would have been career-ending challenges for others. Finally, as an individual, I'm in awe of the power of his spirit that relentlessly continues to inspire a refreshing sense of hope for those in need."
The tribute was hosted by Inside Edition anchor and journalist Deborah Norville, and featured a presentation by President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Dr. John Klippel, a letter from Andre Watts, a video presentation by Emanuel Ax, a reading by a Benedictine nun from The Abbey of Regina Laudis and 2012 Academy Award documentary nominee Reverend Mother Dolores Hart, as well as a letter of honor from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The program also featured performances by Yamaha Artist and pop song stylist Tony DeSare; Yamaha Artist and acclaimed young jazz pianist Gerald Clayton, Vy Higginsen's Gospel for Teens Choir of Harlem, classical pianist Lola Astanova, violinist and Juvenile Arthritis sufferer Margo Deihl, and former Harvard Trio pianist Dr. Richard Kogan.
Capping the evening was a heartfelt performance by Maestro Janis, who joined Yamaha's outstanding worldwide artist roster in 2011. He was also named Presidential Advisor to the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute because of his remarkable work in the field of arthritis advocacy, which dovetails YWMI's mission to bridge the gap between music and medicine on the scientific and educational levels. Maestro Janis has served as the International Ambassador to the Arts for the Arthritis Foundation since 1986 and maintains a busy schedule presenting workshops for millions who contend with the disease, encouraging participants to achieve their goals despite the obstacles they face.
For Yamaha: Lisa Cesarano, Giles Communications, (914) 798-7134, [email protected]
For Byron Janis: For press information and to schedule interviews, limited public appearances and engagements for Maestro Janis, please contact Kristin McClement at KlingerVision, Inc. at 212-592-1390 or [email protected]
About Byron Janis
Byron Janis is one of the world's greatest concert pianists. The first pianist to study with the great Vladimir Horowitz, Janis made his orchestral debut with Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra at age 15. He began his career as a concert pianist in 1944. In 1960, the United States Department of State chose him to open the first cultural exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. At that time, The New York Times reported that "if music could replace international politics, Byron Janis could consider himself an ambassador breaking down cold war barriers." Mr. Janis was invited back by the Soviet Union in 1962, where he had a triumphant seven-week tour. In 1978, he created an acclaimed program on the life of Frederic Chopin, which aired twice, nationally on PBS stations in the United States and in countries around the world. Mr. Janis has had the great honor of being written into the Congressional Record of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, honoring him as a musician, a diplomat and an inspiration.
He has written an autobiography, Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal. A companion DVD, which features conductor Lorin Maazel and pianist Emanuel Ax, entitled The Byron Janis Story, directed by Peter Rosen, also chronicles his life and is currently airing across the United States on PBS. Mr. Janis also released The Chopin Collection in 2012 on EMI Classics, and is scheduled to release Live From Leningrad in July 2012.
About Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute (YMWI)
The Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute, Inc. (YMWI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a unique purpose — to scientifically explore and share the benefits of creative musical expression as an effective wellness strategy. Based upon a solid foundation of published scientific studies, YMWI is committed to reestablishing active music participation as a healthy lifestyle strategy. With a focus on research and education, YMWI is the only organization in the world specifically dedicated to developing and evaluating novel Recreational Music Making strategies. YMWI's ultimate goal is to enable individuals of all ages, regardless of prior experience, to discover the joy and personal benefits of playing a musical instrument.
For more information, please visit www.4wrd.it/YMWI.
SOURCE Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute