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Singer/Songwriter Rufus Wainwright to Join Elton John for Landmark HIV/AIDS Awareness Concert, Fundraiser July 4 in Philadelphia


PHILADELPHIA, May 24 -- Organizers today announced that singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright will be joining Sir Elton John on July 4 in the City of Brotherly Love, when the superstar and humanitarian headlines the landmark Philadelphia Freedom Concert and Ball to raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS. With an expected audience of 1.5 million, the Sunoco Philadelphia Freedom Concert is slated to be the largest, free outdoor HIV/AIDS awareness event ever held. The concert is slated to kick off at 8:30 p.m. in front of the renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, capped off by a monumental fireworks display.

Also featuring Canadian rock n’ roll icon Bryan Adams (the first artist to open the American side of Live Aid in Philadelphia), R&B diva Patti LaBelle, broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite and Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, among others, the historic concert will be preceded by the Philadelphia Freedom Ball fundraiser, in the main atrium of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

With a goal of $2 million dollars, proceeds from the event will be split to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which raises global awareness and resources for HIV/AIDS prevention and care services, and the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which will allocate funds to Philadelphia region HIV/AIDS service provider organizations. Funds are being raised through sponsorship, tickets to the Ball and concessions at the event. To date, more than half the funds have already been raised toward the final goal.

A singer/songwriter known for a theatrical pop style infused with a range of musical genres from Tin Pan Alley to cabaret and opera, Rufus Wainwright is himself a music legacy -- the son of folk stars Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. Born in Rhinebeck, N.Y. in 1973 and raised by his mother in Montreal, he was studying piano by age 6, touring with his mother, his sister and his aunt Anna by 13, and at 14 nominated for a Juno (the Canadian Grammy) as Most Promising Young Artist, while his song, I’m A-Runnin’ was nominated for a Genie (Canada’s Oscars) for Best Song in a Film.

Wainwright came out while still a teenager, discovering comfort in the world of opera, and becoming a fan of legends Edith Piaf, Al Jolson and Judy Garland. After studying music at McGill University, he turned to pop and rock, making a name on the Montreal club circuit, and cutting a series of demos with producer Pierre Marchand. His father passed a tape to a friend, who gave it to Lenny Waronker at Dreamworks, and the label signed him soon after, leading to the release of Rufus Wainwright in spring 1998, and landing on several Best Of lists. He toured for the next few years, also appearing on soundtracks (Shrek), compilations (The McGarrigle Hour), and then his second album, Poses, brought new acclaim in 2001. Another tour stint followed, on his own and with Tori Amos, with Wainwright eventually settling into Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, NY, with producer Marius DeVries to record Want One, released in September, 2003, and Want Two, released last year.

Free to the public, The Sunoco Philadelphia Freedom Concert headlined by Sir Elton John, will kick off at 8:30 p.m., in front of the renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, following the Philadelphia Freedom Ball. The evening will culminate with a massive fireworks display. Tickets to the Ball range from $500 to $2500 per person, and are being sold on a first-come, first- served basis as quantity is limited. Tickets may be purchased and donations made by calling 800. 917. 4389 or by visiting http://www. . For travel information and special Philly Freedom Hotel packages, visit

Sponsors already signed to the event include Geno’s Steaks, Global Limo, Foxwoods Casino, Jefferson Health System (including member hospitals Einstein, Frankford, Magee, Main Line Health and Jefferson), Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., publishers of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, Sofitel Philadelphia, the official hotel for the event and U.S. Airways.

One of the world’s most beloved music icons, Sir Elton John last performed solo in Philadelphia for the opening gala of the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in December 2001. In 1992, Sir Elton, who serves as its Chairman, established the Elton John AIDS Foundation. With offices in Los Angeles and London, the Foundation is an international non-profit organization that provides funding for prevention education programs and direct patient care services supporting men, women, young adults, children, infants, minorities and entire families living with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $50 million in grants worldwide.

The Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund was established in 2004 to fund programs that foster education about HIV/AIDS, fight prejudice and discrimination, or deliver services to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, with a mission of translating the best of contemporary social and medical science into change that protects, enhances, and saves lives. Hirschfeld was a German Jewish lawyer and activist who founded the first gay rights organization in history, launching the movement in Europe over 100 years ago.

For more information on the Philadelphia Freedom Concert and Ball, the Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, or to purchase tickets or make donations, visit or call 1-800-917-4389. For media requests or information, or press tickets to cover the events, call Nina Zucker Associates, at 610-667-0706, or email


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