Berklee 2014 Honorary Doctorates

Berklee president Roger H. Brown will present Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory with honorary doctor of music degrees at Berklee's commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 10, at the 7,000-seat Agganis Arena at Boston University. More than 900 Berklee graduates, their parents, and invited guests will be in attendance.

This year's honorary doctorate recipients are being recognized for their achievements and influences in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture. Past recipients include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, Steven Tyler, Loretta Lynn, David Bowie, Juan Luis Guerra, Paco de Lucia, Carole King, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, and George Clinton.

On commencement eve, as is Berklee's tradition, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with their careers at the Agganis. The concert and ceremony are not open to the public.

Balkin, Nick. "Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, Thara Memory to Receive Honorary Degrees." Berklee College of Music. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

In addition, Harry Belafonte was was awarded an honorary doctorate at a Berklee tribute concert on March 6. Plácido Domingo was awarded an honorary doctorate on April 4th at Berklee’s Valencia campus.

Henry Belafonte and Plácido Domingo will not be appearing at commencement.

2014 Berklee Honorary Doctorates

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page is a world renowned guitarist, composer, and producer who has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and subsequently became a member of the Yardbirds, in 1966, before founding Led Zeppelin, in 1968. Over the next decade, Led Zeppelin effectively redefined rock music, drawing on a wide range of influences to create a string of legendary albums that have to date sold an estimated 300 million copies. Through his work with Led Zeppelin, Page became recognized as one of the greatest and most versatile guitarists in history. From acoustic ballads to hard rock standards, his use of unconventional scales and tunings, innovative use of electronic effects, and fresh approaches to records and production took the rock genre to a new level. His solo from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is still widely considered the greatest guitar solo of all time, four decades since it was recorded.

Balkin, Nick. "Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, Thara Memory to Receive Honorary Degrees." Berklee College of Music. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

Led Zeppelin
DVD 718-719

The Complete Studio Recordings
by Led Zeppelin
CD 8001-8010

Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
MP126.P26 J5 1989 v. 1

Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
ML419.P26 A5 2012

Click here to see more holdings by Jimmy Page.

Geri Allen

Geri Allen is a pianist, composer, educator, and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. Over her expansive career, the Detroit native released nearly 20 albums as a leader, and worked with Ornette Coleman, Betty Carter, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Belgrave, Jimmy Cobb, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motion. The first recipient of the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for jazz, Allen was also the first woman and youngest ever recipient of the Danish Jazzpar Prize. Her work has been featured in the Peabody-winning film Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, on Carrington's Grammy-winning album The Mosaic Project, and Andy Bey's Grammy-nominated album American Song. She was recently commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to compose a piece to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. In 2013, Allen returned to her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, to serve as director of jazz studies. She continues to tour with the Geri Allen Trio and her tap quartet, Timeline.

Balkin, Nick. "Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, Thara Memory to Receive Honorary Degrees." Berklee College of Music. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

Grand River Crossings: Motown and Motor City Inspirations
by Geri Allen
CD 36855

A Child is Born
by Geri Allen
CD 36854

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Valerie Simpson

Valerie Simpson is half of the songwriting, production, and performing entity formerly known as Ashford and Simpson. With her late husband Nick Ashford, she cowrote and produced numerous pop and soul hits for music legends such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, and Chaka Khan, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need to Get By," "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)," and "I'm Every Woman," to name just a few. As performers, Ashford and Simpson's best known songs include "Solid (As a Rock)" and "Found a Cure." The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. Simpson recently released her first solo album, 2012's Dinosaurs Are Coming Back, and was featured on Oprah's Next Chapter. As a member of the ASCAP Foundation Board, she established the Reach Out and Touch Award, which honors Ashford and helps advance the careers of promising young songwriters. She also owns and runs the Sugar Bar, a popular restaurant and music venue in New York's Upper West Side. Four Ashford and Simpson songs are currently featured in the Broadway hit Motown the Musical. Simpson made her first visit to Berklee last year to perform in Trouble Man, a musical about the life of Marvin Gaye that was scripted by Berklee students.

Balkin, Nick. "Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, Thara Memory to Receive Honorary Degrees." Berklee College of Music. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

Best of Valerie Simpson
by Valerie Simpson
CD 11868

Dinosaurs are Coming Back Again
by Valerie Simpson
CD 36875

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Thara Memory

Thara Memory is a trumpeter, composer, and teacher who has earned the reputation as one of the finest musicians and music educators in Portland, Oregon, his home for more than 40 years. Born in Tampa and raised in Eatonville, Florida, he has played with Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Natalie Cole, the Four Tops, and Stanley Turrentine, among others. In 2005, he founded the American Music Program, a youth jazz orchestra that has won national accolades. He shares a 2013 Grammy Award with his former student, Berklee alumna Esperanza Spalding, for his arrangement of the track "City of Roses" from her album Radio Music Society. Students from the American Music Program back Spalding on the track and also appear in the song's music video. Memory was named the Jazz Society of Oregon's Musician of the Year in 2006, inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and was honored as Portland Jazz Master at the 2012 Portland Jazz Festival.

Balkin, Nick. "Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, Thara Memory to Receive Honorary Degrees." Berklee College of Music. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

by Thara Memory
CD 36859-36860

Juke Music
by Thara Memory
CD 36871

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Harry Belafonte

An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte's staggering talent, good looks, and masterful assimilation of folk, jazz, and worldbeat rhythms allowed him to achieve a level of mainstream eminence and crossover popularity virtually unparalleled in the days before the advent of the civil rights movement -- a cultural uprising which he himself helped spearhead.

Anker, Jason. "AllMusic." AllMusic. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

An Evening with Harry Belafonte & Friends
by Harry Belafonte
CD 12474

My Song: A Memoir
Harry Belafonte
ML420.B458 A3 2011

Sing Your Song
DVD 5928

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Plácido Domingo

Domingo, deemed “the king of the opera” by various international publications, currently performs around the world and is the general director of the LA Opera, in California. Domingo is a prolific artist known worldwide who is recognized not only as one of the best actors and most influencing singers of all time, but also as a well-regarded orchestral conductor.

The Spanish singer sang Handel’s Messiah with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of his career, and his first Bohéme with the great soprano Renata Tebaldi at the Palau de les Arts.

Maricq, Sophie. "Placido Domingo Awarded Honorary Doctorate at Berklee in Valencia." Berklee College of Music. N.p., Web. 09 Apr. 2014.

The Original Three Tenors Concert
DVD 5699-5700

The Best of Domingo
by Plácido Domingo
CD 4494

The 3 Tenors, Paris 1998
by Ahmet M. Ertegun
CD 13923

100 Best Plácido Domingo
by Plácido Domingo
Streaming Audio

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