THE ASCAP FOUNDATION ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO CATALOG OF IRVING CAESAR
(Lyricist of "Tea for Two," "Swanee," and "Just a Gigolo,")
New York, July 26, 2004. Marilyn Bergman, President of The ASCAP Foundation, announced today that the Foundation has been named the finaI beneficiary of all of Irving Caesar's assets (copyrights), including those held under his lifetime trust, those retained in his wholly owned publishing company, as well as his memorabilia. Caesar (1895 – 1996) was a prolific and beloved lyricist who wrote hundreds of songs over the course of his long life, including: "Tea for Two," Just a Gigolo," "Swanee," and "Animal Crackers in My Soup," among many others. Caesar's collaborators included Vincent Youmans, George Geshwin, Rudolf Friml and Gerald Marks. Together with Gerald Marks, Irving Caesar created the popular children's educational song series, Songs of Safety and Songs of Friendship.
In line with this major bequest, The ASCAP Foundation is establishing a series of programs designed to ensure the preservation of the great Caesar legacy. These efforts include music education and musical theater programs in Irving Caesar's name with the goal of providing enjoyable and meaningful music experiences for young people with an emphasis on the economically disadvantaged.
The ASCAP Foundation has completed a thorough inventory of Irving Caesar's memorabilia, under the direction of musical theater historian Robert Kimball, which includes correspondence, autobiographical material, song contracts, scripts for shows, patents for gadgets and games invented by Mr. Caesar, as well as sheet music, music and lyric manuscripts, photos, recordings, artwork, books from Mr. Caesar's personal library and financial records. Among the contents was material dating as far back as the 1910s when Mr. Caesar was a teenager.
Caesar became an ASCAP member in 1920, and remained an active and devoted member for the next 75 years, serving several terms as a member of the Society's Board of Directors.
Commenting on the new bond between the Caesar Estate and The ASCAP Foundation, Marilyn Bergman said, "This is a major milestone in the history of our Foundation. Mr. Caesar was a legendary songwriter and we will faithfully target proceeds from Mr. Caesar's catalog to support ASCAP Foundation music education programs for young people per Mr. Caesar's wishes. With this extraordinary bequest, the ASCAP Foundation will not only perpetuate Irving Caesar's great songs and his dedication to the future of young ASCAP writers, but it will, I hope, serve as an inspiration to others to follow his lead and support the vital work of the Foundation."
In Mr. Caesar's memory, the ASCAP Foundation will create the Official Irving Caesar Website including biographical information, a photo gallery, songs, lyrics and sheet music, Broadway shows, Children's Songs and licensing information.
Future plans also include a Caesar Tribute Concert at New York's Carnegie Hall in early 2005 in conjunction with Michael Feinstein's "Now and Then" series.
Since 1975 The ASCAP Foundation has been dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging the development of American music through educational and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, music education programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. For more information, click here to visit The ASCAP Foundation website at www.ascapfoundation.org.