Carnegie Hall today announced that photojournalist Bill Cunningham will receive the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence at a gala benefit on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at The Waldorf=Astoria. The award recognizes Mr. Cunningham’s extraordinary devotion to chronicling fashion for nearly fifty years, as well as his role in inspiring great philanthropy, recognizing the important place that arts, culture, and non-profit causes hold in the life of New York City. Mr. Sanford I. Weill, Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees, and Mrs. Joan Weill are proud to serve as the event’s Honorary Gala Chairs. Annette and Oscar de la Renta, and Sarah Jessica Parker are Gala Chairs. Mercedes T. Bass, Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, and 2008 Medal of Excellence Honoree Terry J. Lundgren and Tina Lundgren serve as Gala Co-Chairs. World-renowned tenor Vittorio Grigolo is set to perform as part of this tribute which supports the music education and community programs of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. The April 23 gala, to be held at The Waldorf=Astoria, will include a private cocktail reception in the Rotunda at the Park Avenue Entrance and dinner in the Empire Ballroom, followed by a brief program and award ceremony. Carnegie Hall’s first-ever Junior Committee will host a chic after-party in The Waldorf=Astoria’s Vanderbilt Ballroom following the dinner. Lara Meiland-Shaw is a member of this committee which is currently in formation. Tables seating ten guests at the Gala Dinner are priced at $50,000, $25,000, and $15,000. Individual tickets are priced at $2,500 and $1,500. To reserve gala tables, please call the Gala Office at 212-903-9679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more than fifty years, Bill Cunningham has dedicated his life to chronicling American fashion trends on film, all the while bringing invaluable exposure to many remarkable philanthropic organizations and causes. Currently a photographer for The New York Times, Mr. Cunningham runs two columns that celebrate the vibrant landscape of New York City life. Both “Evening Hours” and “On the Street” have long served as staples in the Fashion & Style sections of the Times, featuring his images on a weekly basis. Mr. Cunningham moved to New York in 1948, initially working in advertising and soon after designing hats under the name “William J.” He then was drafted and served a tour in the U.S. Army, after which he returned to New York and began writing for the Chicago Tribune. During his years as a writer, he contributed significantly to fashion journalism, helping to introduce American audiences to Azzedine Alaïa and Jean-Paul Gaultier. While working at the Tribune and at Women's Wear Daily, he began taking photographs of fashion on the streets of New York. As the result of a chance photograph of Greta Garbo, he published a group of his impromptu pictures in The New York Times in December 1978, which soon became a regular column. Mr. Cunningham continues to photograph people daily on the streets of Manhattan and at various philanthropic fundraisers throughout the city. In 2008, he was awarded the title Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. About Carnegie Hall Since 1891, New York City's Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for excellence in performance. Its walls have echoed with applause for the world's outstanding classical music artists, as they have for the greatest popular musicians and many prominent dancers, authors, social crusaders, and world figures who have appeared on its stages. Today, the venue remains a preeminent concert hall and a vital, active cultural destination for performers and audiences. Carnegie Hall presents more than 170 performances by the world's finest artists each season on its three great stages—the renowned Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, intimate Weill Recital Hall, and innovative Zankel Hall—with offerings ranging from orchestral concerts, chamber music, and solo recitals to jazz, world, and popular music. In addition to Carnegie Hall’s presentations, the venue is also home to over 500 independently produced events each year. Complementing its performance activities, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute creates extensive music education and community programs that serve more than 300,000 people in the New York City metropolitan region, across the United States, and around the world annually, playing a central role in Carnegie Hall's commitment to making great music accessible to as many people as possible. For more information about Carnegie Hall, please visit carnegiehall.org.
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