Billy Hart Named 2023 Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO Honoree!

Black and white image of Billy Hart behind a drum kit.

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Image: Billy Hart. Credit: Desmond White.

Baltimore, MD – August 15, 2023 – Jazz drummer and educator Billy Hart has been named the 2023 recipient of the Living Legacy Jazz Award Presented by PECO. Mr. Hart will be celebrated on Thursday, November 2, 2023 during a special event at the Kimmel Cultural Campus in Philadelphia.

A program of Mid Atlantic Arts, the Living Legacy Jazz Award honors living jazz master artists residing in the mid-Atlantic region who have kept the spirit and tradition of this evolving art form alive, maintaining the vitality of jazz for future generations through advocacy, mentorship, and the transmission of artistic skill and cultural knowledge. In addition to the celebration event, the Award comes with a cash honorarium of $10,000.

Romona Riscoe Benson, Director of Corporate and Community Impact at PECO and Chair of Mid Atlantic Arts said, “This is the second year in a row we have honored a truly outstanding drummer with the Living Legacy Jazz Award. In 2022 we celebrated Roger Humphries – and now we continue our tradition of honoring excellence with our 2023 honoree, Billy Hart. Recognized as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2022, Mr. Hart brings creativity and passion to all of his work – as a musician and performer as well as an educator.”

Born in Washington, DC, William “Billy” Hart is a jazz drummer and educator who has performed with some of the most important jazz musicians in history.

Early on Mr. Hart performed with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–1968). He moved to New York in 1968, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.

Mr. Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock’s sextet (1969–1973), and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–1974), Stan Getz (1974–1977), and Quest (1980s), in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972’s On the Corner).

Mr. Hart works steadily and teaches widely. Since the early 1990s, he has spent considerable time at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University. He also conducts private lessons through The New School and New York University. Mr. Hart often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.

Currently, he leads the Billy Hart Quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street, which has released two albums on ECM Records.

Additional information about the November 2, 2023 event at the Kimmel Cultural Campus will be available in early fall.

Established in 1994, the Living Legacy Jazz Award has honored 29 outstanding musicians across the years, including: Roger Humphries, Amina Claudine Myers, Charles Tolliver, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Odean Pope, Ron Carter, Gary Bartz, Joanne Brackeen, Nathan Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Phil Woods, Roy Haynes, Dr. Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Randy Weston, Keter Betts, Jimmy Heath, Joe Kennedy, Jr., Shirley Scott, Reggie Workman, Dr. Donald Byrd, Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Robert “Boysie” Lowery, and Clark Terry. A Millennium Award was conferred on Dr. Billy Taylor in 2000.

Image: Billy Hart. Credit: Desmond White.

About PECO
PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas delivery company. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to nearly 1.7 million electric customers and more than 548,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. The company’s 2,900 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), a Fortune 250 company and the nation’s largest energy delivery company, serving more than 10 million customers through six fully regulated transmission and distribution utilities. For more information visit, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

About Mid Atlantic Arts
Mid Atlantic Arts nurtures and funds the creation and presentation of diverse artistic expression and connects people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond. Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about Mid Atlantic Arts, its programs and services, visit our website at


Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts
410.539.6656 x104