Founder of Cherry Lane Music in 1959, Milt Okuns impressive credits include experience as a musician, teacher, conductor, arranger, producer, publishing executive and author. Well known for his work with legendary artists the Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, Plácido Domingo, Harry Belafonte, Starland Vocal Band, Tom Paxton, Laura Nyro and The Brothers Four, Okun started out as a junior high school music teacher in the New York City public schools, eventually becoming one of the most successful record producers in the US, with scores of gold and platinum records to his credit.
Under Okuns leadership, Cherry Lane has become one of the worlds leading independent music publishers, with a current roster of songwriters and composers including The Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.am, John Legend, Quincy Jones, Wolfmother, Mick Mars, West Indian Girl, Ashford & Simpson, Hans Zimmer, Toby Gad, Meleni Smith, Ralph Macdonald and William Salter (“Just the Two Of Us”), Julie Gold (“From a Distance”), William Eaton (“Calypso Breakdown”), Tom Paxton, Irving Burgie (“Day-O”), Maury Yeston (“Titanic - The Musical”), Leslie Bricusse (“Jekyll & Hyde - The Musical”) and the classic catalogues of John Denver and Elvis Presley.
Okun, a strong believer in the power of music in the classroom, has created Music Alive!, a not-for-profit publication using music to inspire a passion for learning among American teenagers.
Milt Okun has long been immensely respected, not only as a music publishing pioneer, but for his hands-on approach with regard to numerous celebrated songwriters careers. In addition, he is well known for his behind-the-scenes generosity in support of music industry charities that are directly impacting future generations, commented Chairman/CEO Hal David. His philanthropy extends beyond the industry, and we are pleased to honor him with our prestigious Abe Olman Publisher Award.
The Abe Olman Publisher Award, named after one of the Songwriters Hall of Fames esteemed founders, goes to music publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and have furthered the careers and successes of many songwriters. Recent Abe Olman Publisher Awardees have included Martin Bandier, Les Bider, Nicholas Firth, Ed Murphy, Beebe Bourne and Ralph Peer, among others.