The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will honor Oscar-winning and Tony-nominated composer Stephen Schwartz with its Founders Award at the 32nd annual ASCAP Screen Music Awards, which celebrate ASCAP's top film, TV, and video game composers. The event will take place May 16 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, California.
The Founders Award is given to ASCAP songwriters who have made exceptional contributions to music by inspiring and influencing fellow music creators. Past recipients include Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Tom Waits, Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), Stevie Wonder, and Neil Young.
"Stephen’s iconic scores have thrilled audiences in multiple mediums for the last four decades,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams in a statement. “His words and music illuminate the stories being told, reveal the inner lives of the individual characters and yet somehow manage to reflect his unique light on our own hopes and dreams. On the stage and on screens large and small, Stephen's wisdom and humor weave a narrative in words and song that transport the listener to worlds that exist only in the imagination.”
Schwartz served as mentor to Oscar-winning La La Land lyricists Justin Paul and Benj Pasek from the very start; the composing duo are currently represented on Broadway with the critically acclaimed new musical Dear Evan Hansen.
"Stephen Schwartz is not only a giant in the world of musical theatre, he is also an incredible mentor, teacher and friend. He cares so deeply about the art form, and is truly committed to nurturing and supporting future generations of musical theatre writers. We feel so lucky to have received so much support and guidance from him, and have been changed undoubtedly for the better by having him in our lives,” stated Paul and Pasek.
Schwartz is the recipient of three Oscars, four Grammys, four Drama Desk Awards, one Golden Globe, and the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. In 2008, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a year later was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Theater Hall of Fame. He has received six Tony Award nominations: for music and lyrics for Wicked, Pippin, and Godspell; for lyrics for Rags; and for music/lyrics and book for Working. In 2015, he received an honorary Tony Award—the Isabelle Stevenson Award—for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent. Among his film credits are Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, and Enchanted.
A long-standing board member of The ASCAP Foundation, Schwartz has served as artistic director for the ASCAP Musical Theatre workshop in both New York and Los Angeles, nurturing many of the young composers and lyricists working in the theatre today.