International musician to receive arts award

Fairfield-feliciano

Musician Jose Feliciano will be awarded the Gerard Manley Hopkins Excellence in the Arts award prior to his performance at the Quick Center on Sept. 28. (David Bravo photo)

Internationally renowned musician and performing artist José Feliciano will be presented with the Gerard Manley Hopkins Excellence in the Arts award during a ceremony at Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts before his performance at the Quick Center on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m.

Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey von Arx will present the award to Feliciano. The award was established when the Quick Center opened its doors in 1990. Past award recipients include jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, actor Jason Robards, painter Paul Cadmus, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, ballerina Gelsey Kirkland and realist painter Robert Vickery.

“We are very pleased to host a performance by Mr. Feliciano and to be presenting him with the Gerard Manley Hopkins Excellence in the Arts award,” von Arx said. “His music has reached across the globe, and his artistic achievements are truly remarkable. It is only fitting that we recognize Mr. Feliciano at his concert at the Quick Center, and I know the audience will enjoy being part of this special occasion.”

The award is named after the Rev. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest who was also one of the most important innovators in the history of English poetry. He developed original poetic forms and rhythms in order to revitalize the language and to find fresh ways to describe and illuminate the Spirit of Creation that he saw in the world around him. He is considered one of the three or four greatest poets of the Victorian era by the Poetry Foundation, regarded by different readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, of nature or of melancholy.

Feliciano is recognized for his accomplishments as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, performer and recording artist. He was born blind in 1945 in Lares, Puerto Rico, immigrating to New York City with his family when he was 5. He was immediately drawn to music, and over the course of his career, has been awarded 45 gold and platinum records and won nine Grammy Awards, including the LARAS Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Billboard Magazine selected Feliciano to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award, and New York City honored him by re-naming Public School 155 in East Harlem “The José Feliciano Performing Arts School.”

Feliciano has been knighted by The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a Papal Order of the Catholic Church, and has performed for Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Guitar Player Magazine named Feliciano “Best Pop Guitarist,” placing him in its “Gallery of the Greats,” and he has been voted both Best Jazz and Best Rock Guitarist in the Playboy Magazine reader’s polls. Recording milestones in his career include his original interpretation of The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” which topped the charts globally in 1968, and “Feliz Navidad,” the Christmas song that has now become a holiday classic worldwide.

Concert tickets are $75, $65 and $55. For information, call the Quick Center Box Office at 203-254-4010 or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 or visit quickcenter.com.

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