Celebrate with “Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” – Sept. 1 at 9 pm

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Joni Mitchell  Receives the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

 Concert Special Honoring Joni Mitchell

Friday, September 1 at 9 pm


Joni Mitchell, an icon among music makers, was a recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Mitchell was honored with a tribute concert March 1 in Washington, D.C.

Self portrait by Joni Mitchell.
Self portrait by Joni Mitchell.

After getting her start performing in coffee shops and nightclubs in her native Canada, Mitchell would go on to set a new standard marrying music and lyrics. With such songs as “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a household name.

“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct impression on American culture and internationally, crossing from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us for the ages,” Hayden said. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”

While Mitchell’s early music is often categorized as “folk,” her sound draws as much from jazz, classical and rock as she crossed various musical genres. Her music often encompasses bespoke tunings and song structures that defy categorization. As a lyricist, she delves deeply into both the personal and political, unafraid to explore the raw reality of living underneath societal norms and time-worn traditions.

Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production and artwork.

Annie Lennox posing
Annie Lennox

“This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell said. “Thank you for honoring me.”

Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the nation’s highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.

Mitchell received the Gershwin Prize at an all-star concert in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 2023.

“We are very proud to be the home of the Gershwin Prize, and help celebrate the legacy of Joni Mitchell,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Joni blazed a new trail for singer-songwriters, and her influence continues to echo through the music of some of today’s most popular artists. We look forward to sharing this celebration of Joni’s artistry and art with our audiences.”

“Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; Ken Ehrlich Productions, Inc.; and the Library of Congress. The executive producers are Dr. Carla Hayden for the Library of Congress; John F. Wilson for WETA Washington, D.C.; and Ken Ehrlich for Ken Ehrlich Productions, Inc.  The senior producer for WETA is Jim Corbley.  The producers are Renato Basile for Ken Ehrlich Productions, Inc.; Susan H. Vita and Jarrod MacNeil for the Library of Congress; and Kate Kelly for WETA.  The production supervisor is Paige Hadley.  The program director is Sandra Restrepo.  The music director is Rickey Minor.  The executive in charge for PBS is Bill Gardner.


About Joni Mitchell

Both Sides Now painting by Joni Mitchell. (front)
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.

Joni Mitchell is an artist of unparalleled gifts as a poet, a songwriter, a musician, a producer, and a painter. She is an icon of modern music and one of the most influential creators of our age. Nearly 60 years after her first performances in Canadian coffee shops and nightclubs, the legend of Mitchell’s genius continues to grow.

Mitchell signed to Reprise Records in 1968, the same year she released her debut, “Song To A Seagull.” The albums that followed set a new standard for the marriage of music and lyrics and made her the premier female singer-songwriter of a revolutionary new generation of artists. With songs like “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock,” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a household name.

Both Sides Now painting by Joni Mitchell. (back)
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.

The accolades bestowed on Mitchell have been vast, including multiple Grammy Awards®, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Polar Music Prize, MusiCares Person of the Year, and inductions into both the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In her native Canada, Mitchell has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts, and has been named a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor. She was also recently presented an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.

Mitchell has never stopped making art, most recently launching the Joni Mitchell Archives, which began with her curating her vast catalog to reveal hours of previously unissued studio and live recordings. In 2022, Mitchell won a Grammy for producing the first volume in the series, “Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 to 1967).

This year is set to be another landmark year for Joni Mitchell as she brings her Joni Jam to the stage for her first headlining concert in over two decades at Washington state’s legendary Gorge Amphitheatre in June.