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For immediate release
March 21, 2000



NPR VP of Cultural Programming, Murray Horwitz, Receives Distinguished Award From the French Government
Friday, March 24, 2000: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The French Embassy; 4101 Reservoir Road, NW; Washington, DC



On March 24, 2000, Murray Horwitz, Vice President of Cultural Programming at National Public Radio (NPR) will receive the distinguished title of "Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Letters" (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) from the Government of France, at the French Embassy in Washington, DC.

The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists, writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Recent honorees include Meryl Streep, Beverly Sills, and Clark Terry. Recipients of this distinction receive a certificate from the French Minister of Culture and Communication and are entitled to wear the insignia of this order, a medal suspended from a colored ribbon of white stripes against a green background. The Award is given out twice annually to only a few hundred people worldwide.

According to Horwitz, "Part of the mission of NPR Cultural Programming is to promote cross-cultural understanding. I am deeply honored to be the means by which the Government of France recognizes the value of that NPR commitment. To have one's work honored by the French - whose contributions to world culture are second to none -- is especially meaningful to an American artist."

Horwitz was appointed NPR's Vice President of Cultural Programming at NPR on October 1, 1996. Prior to his appointment as Vice President, he was Director of Jazz, Classical Music, and Entertainment Programming. He was also co-writer with Wynton Marsalis of the 26-part radio series, Making the Music, winner of a 1996 Peabody Award.

This season, he contributed song lyrics to John Harbison's The Great Gatsby, at the Metropolitan Opera. Horwitz's other accomplishments include originating and co-writing Ain't Misbehavin', which won Tony, Obie, Emmy, Grammy, and New York Drama Critics' Circle awards. In 1998 he was stage director for the first annual Mark Twain Prize ceremonies at the Kennedy Center, honoring Richard Pryor and staring Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Belzer and Robin Williams. In 1997, he staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the Presidents' Summit for the Future of America, in Philadelphia (with Presidents Clinton, Ford, and Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey). He has also received a Governor's Arts Award in playwriting from the State of Maryland.

Horwitz began his career as a clown with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he performed for three years. He has performed at The Kennedy Center, The Manhattan Theatre Club, and The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater. Horwitz has also had featured roles in Kojak and the motion picture, Night Of the Juggler. More recently, he has appeared with Wynton Marsalis in young people's jazz concerts in New York City and Berlin, and made his Carnegie Hall debut as host of a concert featuring Taj Mahal, David Benoit, and Savion Glover. He has also written the scripts for many events, including the 90th anniversary of Carnegie Hall and several White House performances. His written works also include television, film, and theater projects for studios and networks, including HBO, ABC, 20th Century Fox, MGM/United Artists, Universal, and Paramount.

Horwitz is a board member of Young Playwrights, Inc., and the Advisory Board of the International Association of Jazz Educators. In addition, he has been a board member for Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, an officer of Project Return, a member of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's National Jazz Task Force, and an adviser to the Knight Foundation's symphony orchestra project, "The Magic of Music."

Before joining NPR, Horwitz was acting Director of the National Endowment for the Arts Opera-Musical Theater Program. He has also served as deputy press secretary for the New York State Assembly Speaker's office. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio, and lives near Washington, DC, with his wife, mezzo-soprano Lisa Miller, and their three children. A graduate of Ohio's Kenyon College with a bachelor's of arts degree in English and drama, Horwitz received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from his alma mater in 1992.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of 14.6 million Americans each week via 625 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.