PBS to Honor Emilio and Gloria Estefan in Music Special with Star-Studded Performances from Jose Feliciano, Il Volo, Cyndi Lauper and More, Hosted by Rita Moreno and Andy Garcia

Latest from Emmy Award-Winning Music Series 'The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song' is First to Honor Musicians-Songwriters of Hispanic Descent, Airs Friday, May 3, 2019, on PBS

February 1, 2019

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (February 1, 2019) — Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS announced the talent and broadcast plans for Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, a PBS music special honoring Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The program will premiere Friday, May 3, 2019, at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings). The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world. This will be the first time the Gershwin Prize will be awarded to a married couple or to musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent.

The event is taping on March 13, 2019, at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, and is being produced by WETA, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital; Bounce, a division of Concord Music Group; and the Library of Congress; in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. The event will feature performances by Gloria Estefan, as well as Jose Feliciano, Il Volo, Cyndi Lauper, Emily Estefan, and original cast members of “On Your Feet!” and a special presentation by Quincy Jones — with Rita Moreno and Andy Garcia as hosts (program subject to change). More talent will be announced in advance of the tape date. Gregg Field will be music director; he most recently won an Emmy Award for his music direction of last year’s special, Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. During this year’s event, the Estefans will be presented the Gershwin Prize by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, and a delegation of Members of Congress.

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is named in honor of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin. The prize is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. The Gershwin Prize was first awarded to Paul Simon in 2007, followed by Stevie Wonder in 2009, Sir Paul McCartney in 2010, the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 2012, Carole King in 2013, Billy Joel in 2014, Willie Nelson in 2015, Smokey Robinson in 2016 and Tony Bennett in 2017.

“WETA is thrilled to bring this performance honoring Emilio and Gloria Estefan to the public,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “The Estefans’ extraordinary music has immeasurably enriched our nation’s cultural life, and we are proud to join the Library of Congress in sharing this event with all Americans.”

“The Estefans’ extraordinary career has left an indelible mark on American music and culture,” said Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “PBS is excited to share this very special evening with our viewers, and we’re delighted to celebrate the important contributions of Latino and Latina artists to our country.”

“CPB is proud to support this program celebrating and sharing the musical legacy of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. The Gershwin Prize is the most prestigious award given by the Library of Congress to honor artists who have promoted cultural understanding through song, a recognition of the Estefans’ unique contributions to American music,” said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“The music created by Emilio and Gloria Estefan makes you want to listen to the beat and get on your feet,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “They are the creative force behind the popularity of music steeped in the Latino culture. This dynamic couple’s professional and personal journey truly mirrors the American dream, and we are so pleased to honor their musical legacy.”

The Estefans symbolize the rich cultural diversity of the American musical experience. They are musical auteurs, creating a unique sound of Latin rhythms that transcends cultural boundaries, parlaying their creative genius into entrepreneurship and community activism, and propelling the careers of many of today’s Latino artists to stardom. During their more than 30-year career, they have built a musical empire and made listening to Cuban-infused music one of America’s favorite pastimes.

“From the moment I started singing, I was drawn to the iconic songs of the immensely talented Gershwin brothers and have had the privilege to record several of them,” said Gloria Estefan. “I am deeply honored, along with Emilio Estefan, my beloved husband of 40 years, to be the 2019 recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. This award celebrates lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding, and we feel privileged to have been able to live our lives making and sharing music. We are profoundly humbled to have been chosen for this singular accolade.”          

“My life and career in music has been a blessing, and I’m humbled by this amazing honor and to be sharing it with my wife,” said Emilio Estefan. “I can only hope that our careers will influence a new generation of songwriters and producers. Throughout my career, my wish has always been to inspire minorities and to be an example that with hard work and dedication, all your dreams can come true.”

Married since 1978, the Cuban-American Estefans started their extraordinary rise to global fame in 1985 with Miami Sound Machine, creating a unique sound that blended Latin and pop rhythms. Many of their iconic hits — including “Conga,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Get on Your Feet” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” — reflected the perfect marriage of creative lyrics, high-octane rhythms and spirited vocals. In March 2018, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” was named to the National Recording Registry, an exclusive group of sound recordings selected for preservation because of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to the nation’s audio heritage.

The Estefans have both been named BMI’s “Songwriter of the Year” and have garnered 26 Grammy Awards between them. Their life story and music were showcased in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical “On Your Feet!” which they executive produced. In addition to their musical talents, they are also successful entrepreneurs, philanthropists and humanitarians. The Estefans have received numerous awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Gloria Estefan is one of the most successful crossover artists in Latin music history. She is a seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and author of two New York Times best-selling children’s books. She has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and achieved 38 No. 1 hits across the Billboard charts. Her many achievements are a testament to her popularity: an Academy Award-nominated recording, “Music of My Heart;” a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Spain’s Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts; and a National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress, among others. She is scheduled to release a new album the first quarter of 2019.

Emilio Estefan, a 19-time Grammy Award winner, is a musician, songwriter, record and television producer, best-selling author, filmmaker and cultural ambassador. He has shaped and directed the careers of many musical talents, including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Jon Secada and Jennifer López. He was one of the founding leaders of the Latin Grammy Awards, inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and named the first “Person of the Year” by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.  Estefan was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame presented him with its lifetime achievement award. He was selected as the second vice chair to the Commission for the National Museum of the American Latino by President Barack Obama. President George W. Bush also appointed him as a member of the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities.

The Estefans and the other performing artists will be joined by a house band led by music director Gregg Field.


The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song has been produced by WETA for PBS since 2007, with the support of PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. From June 2007 to the most recent broadcast in January 2018, these events have honored the musical genius of Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, and Tony Bennett. The talented line-ups celebrating the honorees have included Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, Wayne Brady, Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Michael Bublé, Elvis Costello, Gloria Estefan, Ana Gabriel, CeeLo Green, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Jamey Johnson, the Jonas Brothers, Diana Krall, Cyndi Lauper, Lyle Lovett, Martina McBride, John Mellencamp, Micah Nelson and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Corinne Bailey Rae, LeAnn Rimes, Emeli Sandé, Jerry Seinfeld, Esperanza Spalding, James Taylor, Jack White, Will.i.am, Vanessa Williams, Bruce Willis, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, and Buckwheat Zydeco.

Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is a co-production of WETA Washington, DC; Bounce, a division of Concord Music Group; and the Library of Congress; in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. The executive producers are Dalton Delan, Carla Hayden and Michael Strunsky.  The producers are Bounce’s Tim Swift, Gregg Field, and, for the Library of Congress, Susan H. Vita and Jarrod MacNeil.  Major funding for the broadcast is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Additional funding is provided by The Leonore S. Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board; and Buffy Cafritz, Tom Girardi and Marjorie Fisher Furman. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines.

For more information about The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, visit www.pbs.org/Gershwin-Prize. To follow The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Twitter, use the hashtag #PBSGershwin. More information on the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song can also be found at www.loc.gov/about/awards-and-honors/gershwin-prize/.

# # #

WETA Washington, DC is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. Other WETA productions and co-productions include PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK, THE KENNEDY CENTER MARK TWAIN PRIZE, and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns and scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The WETA studios and administrative offices are located in Arlington, Virginia. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.

Bounce is an award-winning broadcast production division of Concord Music Group. In addition to this year’s production of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and previous years’ specials honoring Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson and Tony Bennett, Bounce has produced one-of-a-kind live events including the annual “MusiCares Person of the Year” special during GRAMMY Week, “The National Christmas Tree Lighting” and several episodes of the acclaimed PBS series IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE. The Bounce team also specializes in brand integration and marketing — working with high-end luxury firms on launching and maintaining their overall brand status. Tim Swift is founder and CEO.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Latino Public Broadcasting produces the series VOCES, the signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase on PBS and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience.  Between 2009 and 2018, LPB programs won over 111 awards, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award as well as two Emmys, Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries.  More information is available at www.lpbp.org.

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. More information about CPB is available at www.cpb.org.




Kate Kelly, WETA  kkelly@weta.org

Carrie Johnson, PBS cjohnson@pbs.org

Gayle Osterberg, Library of Congress gosterberg@loc.gov


For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.