September 22, 2008
Charles Aznavour to Receive “Lifetime Achievement Award” at MIDEM
Legendary French singer Charles Aznavour will receive a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at MIDEM on 19 January in recognition of his outstanding career. The 43rd edition of MIDEM, the international music market, takes place in Cannes from 18 to 21 January 2009.
Charles Aznavour will be in the spotlight at the end of 2008 with the international release of his new album "Duos" on the EMI label. "Duos" is a collection of some of his greatest songs recorded as duets with some of the biggest stars of the French and international stage, including Paul Anka, Celine Dion, Placido Domingo, Bryan Ferry, Josh Groban, Herbert Gronemeyer, Johnny Hallyday, Julio Iglesias, Elton John, Carole King, Liza Minnelli, Nana Mouskouri, Laura Pausini and Sting. In addition, a musical comedy based on his songs entitled "Je m'Voyais Deja" (I Could Already See Myself), written by Laurent Ruquier and under the artistic direction of his daughter, Katia Aznavour, will open on 2 October at the Theatre du Gymnase, Paris.
"Charles Aznavour is without doubt the most famous French singer throughout the world, and he is a living legend in the pantheon of chanson francaise. His songs have become standards covered by some of the greatest artists of successive generations, and the films in which he has starred are classics. It is a pleasure for MIDEM to be able to honour this incomparable personality," said Paul Zilk, Chief Executive Officer of Reed MIDEM.
Charles Aznavour has written more than 800 songs, many of which have been interpreted by the world's greatest artists (Fred Astaire, Shirley Bassey, Ray Charles, Elvis Costello, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Junior, Juliette Greco, Liza Minnelli, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone to name but a few). He has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and his career as an actor, which he began in the theatre at the age of nine, includes more than 60 films, including "The Tin Drum," winner of the Palme d'Or at the Festival de Cannes in 1979.
In 1988, following the terrible earthquake in Armenia, Charles Aznavour started to use his international fame to help the land of his forebears by founding the humanitarian foundation "Aznavour pour l'Armenie" (Aznavour for Armenia) with Levon Sayan.
In 1993, the President of Armenia appointed him Ambassador-at-Large and Ambassador to Unesco.
At 84, the lyricist and/or composer of such classics as "La Boheme,""Je m'Voyais Deja,""Hier encore,""La Mamma" continues to write new songs and to appear on some of the most prestigious international stages. Charles Aznavour is currently completing an international farewell tour of Latin America, which included performances over the past few months in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and elsewhere.
In 1998, Charles Aznavour was voted Entertainer of the Century - ahead of Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan - in an online poll conducted by CNN and Time Magazine USA.
Charles Aznavour is the dazzling symbol of universal artistic talent coupled with unbounded energy.
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Biography of Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour climbed every step on his rise to international stardom.
He was born Charles Aznavourian in Paris on 22 May 1924 to Armenian parents. Misha and Knar Aznavourian ran a restaurant in Rue de la Huchette to support the family. But their real love was their art, he being a baritone singer, she an actress, and the Aznavourian family lived in an atmosphere of music, of theatre and poetry.
From the age of nine, Charles Aznavour began taking on small roles in the theatre and in films. In 1941, he met the young lyricist/composer Pierre Roche, with whom he formed a duet, working the cabaret circuit in France and Belgium. This is when he met Edith Piaf, who took the duet to perform in Canada. In 1944, Aznavour wrote "J'ai Bu" for Georges Ulmer which won the Record of the Year award.
In 1953, Aznavour joined the music publisher Raoul Breton, writing "Je Hais les Dimanches" for Juliette Greco as well as material for Maurice Chevalier. In just a few years, as one journalist at the time wrote: "France has been totally Aznavourized." Every singing show would include at least one Charles Aznavour song, and the media loved his work.
On his return after a tour of North Africa, the Moulin Rouge hired him for the first time as headline act. Bruno Coquatrix then booked him for three weeks at the Olympia alongside Sydney Bechet. His confirmation as a top-lining artist came with his shows at the Alhambra, which made Charles Aznavour the number one young star in France. But it had been a long hard road before arriving there. "I was booed, people threw coins and beer cans, but I stuck it out and here I am," he recalled.
In parallel, his film career was taking off. He starred in "La Tete Contre les Murs" (Head Against the Wall) by Georges Franju (1958), for which he received France's best actor award, followed by "Les Dragueurs" (The Chasers) by Jean-Pierre Mocky (1959) and "Tirez sur le Pianiste" (Shoot the Pianist) by Francois Truffaut (1960).
On the music front, his performance at Carnegie Hall in 1963 drew enthusiastic reviews and Aznavour embarked on an extensive world tour which lasted several years. Charles Aznavour had by now become an international star and his records such as "La Mamma" sold in millions.
The following years brought a string of hits including "For Me Formidable,""La Boheme,""Mourir d'Aimer,""Les Plaisirs Demodes" and "Comme ils Disent." With "She," which stayed at Number 1 in the British charts for many weeks, the recording received gold and platinum status, which was a first for a French artist.
In 1988, following the earthquake which devastated Armenia, he joined with Levon Sayan to found the charity "Aznavour pour l'Armenie" (Aznavour for Armenia) and gathered 90 French singers and actors to record the song "Pour Toi Armenie" (For You, Armenia) which sold more than 1.5 million copies.
On 30 September 2006, Aznavour performed at a mega-concert produced by Levon Sayan in front of 100,000 spectators in Republic Square in the Armenian capital Yerevan to mark the official opening of the Year of Armenia in France. Both the French President Jacques Chirac and the Armenian President Robert Kotcharian attended.
His latest studio album "Colore ma Vie" was released in 2007 by EMI.
Charles Aznavour was named "Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur" (Commander of the Legion d'Honneur) and "Commandeur dans l'Ordre National du Merite" (Commander in the National Order of Merit) by President Jacques Chirac.
Note to Editors:
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