Berklee College of Music graduating class of 2014 gathers students from 67 countries across the map and 43 U.S. states. They will receive their degrees at Berklee’s 2014 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the 7,000 seat Agganis Arena at Boston University.
We’d like to give a special shout out to our Berklee City Music Students who are walking in this year’s ceremony! Brielle Blount, Lauren Fuller, Matthew Hull, Terrell James, Bianelys Javier, Laura Padilla, Franchesca Phillip, Alfred Jordan, Levi Keller and Myrish Spell -we are so proud of you!
Recognizing their contributions to American and international culture, Berklee president Roger H. Brown will present honorary doctor of music degrees to Jimmy Page, Thara Memory, Geri Allen and Valerie Simpson.
The evening before the ceremony, this year’s Honorary Doctorate recipients will enjoy Berklee graduates’ performance paying tribute to their music. We hope that some of the honorees would grace the stage with their presence as Annie Lenox and Willie Nelson did last year.
A complete list of Berklee’s honorary degree recipients over the years is available here.
Jimmy Page is an English musician, songwriter and record producer. He is considered to be one of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Jimmy Page is widely known as the leader of the rock band Led Zeppelin, having sold over 300 million albums worldwide.
Page continues to be one of the most influential musicians, and it is a great honor to have him deliver the commencement speech to the array of Berklee’s graduating students, as they transition to a new, exciting chapter of their lives.
Thara Memory is a teacher, trumpeter, composer and conductor. He experienced the pleasure of touring and playing with various great blues and jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Natalie Cole, James Brown, The Four Tops, Eddie Harris, Stanley Turrentine and Joe Tex and was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. He founded the American Music Program a renowned youth jazz orchestra, and has taught and mentored countless students including Berklee alumna, Esperanza Spalding. Memory won a Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists” for the song “City of Roses” on Spalding’s album Radio Music Society. The American Music Program was also featured in the song’s music video and backing Spalding on the recording.
Geri Allen is internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and active music educator. Since 1982 she has recorded, performed or collaborated with Ravi Coltrane, Dianne Reeves, Bill Cosby, Ron Carter, Ornette Coleman and Paul Motian. Her latest release Flying Toward the Sound appeared on the Best of 2010 lists for NPR, Downbeat, All About Jazz, and the Village Voice’s Jazz Critics’ Poll.
Valerie Simpson is a half of the Motown writing duo- Ashford and Simpson. With her late husband Nick Ashford, she co-wrote and produced numerous hits for music greats such as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan; They were the creative songwriting force behind everlasting hits like “ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “I’m Every Woman”, “Ain’t Nothing Like A Real Thing”, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and many more. As performers, they are most known for their ’80s hit “Solid (As a Rock)”.
As a member of the ASCAP Foundation Board, Valerie established the Reach Out and Touch Award, which honors Ashford and helps advance the careers of promising young songwriters. Valerie returns to Berklee this May, after her last year’s performance in Trouble Man, a musical about the life of Marvin Gaye that was scripted by Berklee students.
Commencement events will be streamed online at the following links:
Commencement concert – Friday May 9th at 7:30 pm EST
Commencement ceremony – Saturday, May 10th at 10:00 am EST
For complete schedule of commencement festivities and insights, click here.