Joni Mitchell to Receive Gershwin Prize at All-Star D.C. Tribute Concert, With PBS Broadcast to Follow

Joni Mitchell is set to receive the 2023 Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, an honor that will be bestowed at a tribute concert due to be filmed in Washington, D.C. on the first day of March, with a television premiere on PBS as that month comes to a close.

No performers have yet been announced for the March 1 live show, which will air on PBS March 31 at 9 p.m. ET. Ken Ehrlich, who served as the Grammys’ executive producer for three decades, will produce the show along with WETA in Washington and the Library of Congress.

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

It will mark the second year in a row that Mitchell has received one of the top honors available to any music artist, after she was feted this past spring as MusiCares’ Person of the Year at a dinner and concert prior to the Grammys. That all-star show was reportedly not filmed for broadcast purposes, so the Gershwin tribute will offer a chance for a much wider audience to see fellow artists perform her songs.

Lionel Richie received the Gershwin Prize last year, following Garth Brooks getting the honor in 2020. Others who have feted with the award since Paul Simon became its first recipient in 2007 include Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Carole King and Tony Bennett. The national prize for lifetime achievement in popular song is named after songwriting brothers Ira and George Gershwin.

Although no location was immediately announced for the concert, the event has been held in recent years at DAR Constitution Hall. In its early years, the annual took place at locations ranging from Washington’s Warner Theater to the East Room of the White House.

 “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,” said Carla Hayden, the librarian of the Library of Congress. “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.” 

The Gershwin Prize concert is not the only public event already on Mitchell’s calendar for 2023. In June, the middle night of a Brandi Carlile three-night stand at the Gorge in Washington — the other Washington — will be devoted to a “Joni Jam.” That show is expected to follow along the lines of a surprise set that took place under the same name at last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, when Carlile and other artists sang Mitchell’s songs and she herself sang at length and played guitar in public for the first time since suffering an aneurysm in 2015.

Elton John recently noted on his radio program — and Carlile confirmed to Variety — that a live album of the Newport Festival’s “Joni Jam” will be released some time in 2023.

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