Byron Janis Celebrates 80th Birthday 3/10 in Concert with Hensley, Cuccioli, Mason

Internationally renowned pianist Byron Janis celebrates his 80th birthday in grand style with two special events in March at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, (located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza).

On Saturday, March 8 at 3PM, he will present a lecture, "Remembering Horowitz, Toscanini and Heifetz: Reflection by Byron Janis." The birthday festivities continue with "An Evening of Song with Pianist as Composer with a Touch of Chopin," a concert on Monday, March 10 at 6PM where he will play his own music for the first time in front of an audience.

Some of Broadway's most acclaimed performers will join Janis for the March 10 concert. His special guests include Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde), Shuler Hensley (Oklahoma!, Young Frankenstein), Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!), Sami Gayle (Gypsy), Maya Days (No Strings at Encores!), and Joanne Lessner (Cyrano).

Janis's repertoire for the concert includes "The World is Changing," "All That's Left of Love," "J'aime celui qui M'aime," "You Are More," "The Warmth of Christmas," "A Hero's Passing By," "Footprints," and "Like Any Man." He plans to perform a few selections by Chopin. Mr. Janis will also be donating a manuscript for one of his pieces to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Music Division, one of the world's leading archives for the study of music.

Byron Janis is renowned internationally as one of the world's greatest concert pianists – an extraordinary career he began as a piano prodigy at the age of nine. The year 1984 marked the 40th anniversary of the historic New York Carnegie Hall debut recital that launched his brilliant career – a milestone celebrated with a State Dinner at the White House, where he was honored by President Reagan.

In 1960, Janis was chosen as the first American artist to be sent to the Soviet Union, opening the Cultural Exchange between the USSR and the United States. His triumph there was reported on the front page of The New York Times in 1960 as was his discovery of two Chopin waltzes in 1967. He wrote and produced a critically-acclaimed documentary on the life of Frederic Chopin that aired on numerous public television stations across the United States and was broadcast internationally.

Janis has earned numerous awards throughout his distinctive career, including being awarded a Commander of the French Legion d'Honneur for Arts and Letters, the Grand Prix de Disques, the Stanford Fellowship at Yale University, and the Distinguished Pennsylvania Artists Award (past recipients Include James Michener, Marion Anderson, Jimmy Stewart, and Bill Cosby). In 1995, he received The Cannes Classical Award for Best Reissue, for his acclaimed Prokofiev/Rachmaninoff recording. His television appearances include The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, 20/20 with Barbara Walters, NBC Evening Weekend News, and Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt.

In 1985, Janis become Ambassador for the Arts for the Arthritis Foundation, and over the years he has played many fundraising concerts on its behalf. He is Chairman of the Global Forum Arts and Culture Committee, the national head of the Visual and Performing Arts in America for Tel-Aviv University, and serves on the Board and Music Advisory Committee for Pro Musicis, an international organization devoted to helping young artists. In 1997, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the prestigious Trinity University of Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Janis has recently written two articles for the Wall Street Journal.

Admission to the March 8 at 3 PM lecture is free and first come, first served. Admission to the March 10 at 6PM concert is free, but tickets are required and will be distributed, one per person, from two hours before showtime at the Library's rear entrance at 111 Amsterdam Avenue, near 65th Street. For further information about the Library's programs, call (212) 642-0142 or visit

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Byron Janis

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