Valerie Simpson, the co-writer of classics including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I’m Every Woman,” has been named as one of the honorees at ASCAP’s Foundation Honors program, set to take place Dec. 12 in New York City. Being awarded alongside Simpson at the event is orchestral composer Melinda Wagner, whose history of being feted includes picking up the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1999.
ASCAP Foundation president Paul Williams enthused over both recipients in a statement. “Valerie, together with her husband Nick (Ashford), has written some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century,” Williams said, speaking of the co-writer of songs like “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand,” who previously picked a different ASCAP trophy, the Founders Award, with her late partner. The follow-up award she’ll be getting in December is the ASCAP Foundation George M. Cohan Friars Foundation Award.
Wagner, meanwhile, will be receiving the ASCAP Foundation Masters Award. Her most famous works include the “Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion,” which brought her the Pulitzer, along with works for the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony. Wagner is currently the chair of composition at the Juilliard School of Music.
The 43-year-old ASCAP Foundation is an arm of the performing rights organization dedicated to charitable support for charitable and humanitarian missions, including writing workshops, community outreach programs and scholarships.