The Juilliard School holds its 106th Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 11 AM in Alice Tully Hall (Broadway at 65th Street, NYC). Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi presents honorary degrees to four outstanding artists. The recipients are:
- Composer and conductor John Adams
- Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and producer Herbie Hancock
- Actor Derek Jacobi
- Choreographer Twyla Tharp
Mr. Adams will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree. Mr. Hancock also receives an honorary Doctor of Music degree. Ms. Tharp and Mr. Jacobi receive honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees.
Juilliard will award 273 (111 undergraduate and 162 graduate) degrees to its actors, dancers, playwrights, and jazz, operatic, and classical instrumental musicians.
HONORARY DOCTORATES - BIOS
Composer, conductor, and creative thinker John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of classical music. Among his most famous works are On the Transmigration of Souls; Harmonielehre; and Naïve and Sentimental Music. His stage works include Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, and The Flowering Tree. Mr. Adams’ newest work is City Noir, a co-commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony.
Mr. Adams is an active conductor with many of the world’s great orchestras. His 2010-2011 season included his Metropolitan Opera conducting debut, as well as guest appearances with the San Francisco Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, residencies with the Toronto and New World symphonies, and a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he currently holds the position of Creative Chair. Mr. Adams is a frequent guest at Juilliard and conducted the Juilliard Orchestra in February at Carnegie Hall. He also led a concert version of The Death of Klinghoffer at Juilliard’s FOCUS! 2009 festival.
Since its 1985 recording of Harmonielehre, Nonesuch has released first recordings of all of John Adams’ works. Nonesuch’s ten-disc set, The John Adams Earbox, documents his recorded music through 2000. Hallelujah Junction, Mr. Adams’ volume of memoirs and commentary on American musical life, was published in 2008. The official John Adams Web site is www.earbox.com.
Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable voice. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy® Awards, he continues to amaze audiences.
Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie Hancock was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. He began playing jazz in high school, initially influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. He also developed a passion for electronics and science, and double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.
In 1960, he was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd. After two years of session work with Byrd, as well as Phil Woods and Oliver Nelson, he signed with Blue Note as a solo artist. His 1963 debut album, Takin’ Off, was an immediate success, producing the hit, Watermelon Man. In 1963, Miles Davis invited him to join the Miles Davis Quintet. During his five years with Davis, Herbie Hancock and his colleagues Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) recorded many classics, including ESP, Nefertiti, and Sorcerer. Later on, he made appearances on Miles Davis’ groundbreaking In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, which heralded the birth of jazz-fusion. Herbie Hancock’s own solo career blossomed on Blue Note with classic albums, including Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles, and Speak Like a Child.
After leaving Miles Davis, he put together a new band called The Headhunters. By mid-decade, Herbie Hancock was playing for stadium-sized crowds all over the world and had no fewer than four albums in the pop charts at once. In total, he had 11 albums in the pop charts during the 1970s. He also stayed close to his love of acoustic jazz in the 1970s. He produced trumpeter (and Juilliard alumnus) Wynton Marsalis’ debut album and toured with him as well.
Mr. Hancock won an Oscar in 1986 for scoring the film ‘Round Midnight, in which he also appeared as an actor. Possibilities, released in August 2005, teamed Herbie Hancock with many popular artists, such as Sting, John Mayer, Paul Simon, and Carlos Santana.
Herbie Hancock also maintains a thriving career outside the performing stage and recording studio. Recently named by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Creative Chair for Jazz, he currently serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He is a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace.
His latest CD is Herbie Hancock’s Imagine Project, which was released in 2010 and garnered
Mr. Hancock two Grammys. He picked up the Best Improvised Jazz Solo award for his solo on the song, A Change Is Gonna Come, while the title song, Imagine, was awarded Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the Imagine Project features a stellar group of musicians, including Jeff Beck, Seal, Pink, Dave Matthews, The Chieftains, Lionel Loueke, Oumou Sangare, Konono #1, Anoushka Shankar, Chaka Khan,
Marcus Miller, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Tinariwen, and Ceu. The CD was recorded around the world and filmed for an accompanying documentary.
Herbie Hancock remains where he always has been: in the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music.
Derek Jacobi’s prolific career has spanned a vast array of film, television and stage roles, winning him numerous awards, including a BAFTA for his performance in I, Claudius, as well as two Emmys for guest roles in Frasier, and Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Tenth Man. Mr. Jacobi was knighted for his services to theater in 1994, and in 2009, won an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Malvolio in the Donmar Warehouse’s West End production of Twelfth Night. His most notable film appearances include Gladiator, Gosford Park, Nanny McPhee, The Golden Compass, and his most recent film credits include the award-winning The King’s Speech, Ironclad, and A Bunch of Amateurs. His latest television projects include The Borgias with Jeremy Irons, Joe Maddison’s War, Endgame, and such British institutions as Doctor Who and Ms. Marple. Mr. Jacobi’s current theater credits include playing King Lear in Michael Grandage’s feted production at the Donmar Warehouse, soon to open in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Twyla Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed four Broadway shows. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, 19 honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1965, Ms. Tharp founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance. In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Ms. Tharp’s work first appeared on Broadway in 1980 with When We Were Very Young, followed in 1981 by her collaboration with David Byrne on The Catherine Wheel at the Winter Garden. Her 1985 production of Singin’ in the Rain played at the Gershwin and was followed by an extensive national tour. In 2002, Ms. Tharp’s award-winning dance musical Movin’ Out, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel, premiered at the Richard Rodgers, where it ran for three years. A national tour opened in 2004 and also ran for three years. For Movin’ Out, Ms. Tharp received the 2003 Tony Award the 2003 Astaire Award, the Drama League Award for Sustained Achievement in Musical Theater, and both the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography. For the London production, Ms. Tharp won Best Choreography (Musical Theatre) Award of the UK’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2006. In 2006, Ms. Tharp worked with Bob Dylan’s music and lyrics to create The Times They Are A-Changin’ which played at the Brooks Atkinson. In 2010, she created Come Fly Away set to the voice of Frank Sinatra.
In film she has collaborated with director Milos Forman on Hair in 1978, Ragtime in 1980, and Amadeus in 1984, with Taylor Hackford on White Nights in 1985, and with James Brooks in I’ll Do Anything in 1994.
Her television credits include choreographing Sue’s Leg for the inaugural episode of PBS’ Dance in America, co-producing and directing Making Television Dance, which won the Chicago International Film Festival Award; and directing The Catherine Wheel for BBC Television. She co-directed the television special Baryshnikov by Tharp, which won two Emmy Awards as well as the Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Director Achievement.
In 1992, Ms. Tharp wrote her autobiography Push Comes To Shove. In 2003, she wrote, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life. In 2009, she wrote, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together, both of which were published by Simon and Schuster.
Today, Ms. Tharp continues to create.
ABOUT THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL
The Juilliard School established this country's standard for education in the performing arts, beginning with music in 1905. In 1951, its Dance Division was established, with combined training in contemporary and ballet technique. Juilliard became part of Lincoln Center in 1968, and added a four-year drama program. In 2001, Juilliard broke new ground with the addition of its jazz program; a graduate program in Historical Performance began in fall of 2009, the same year that Juilliard inaugurated its partnership with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Well into its second century of excellence, Juilliard has expanded its facilities with a 39,000 square-foot addition, completed in 2009. Currently close to 850 young artists from 46 states and 39 foreign countries are enrolled at Juilliard. Honorary doctoral awards were first bestowed in 1987 at Juilliard’s 82nd Commencement. Since then, dozens of the world’s noted citizens representing the fields of dance, drama, music and philanthropy in arts and education have been honored. For more information, visit The Juilliard School Web site at: www.juilliard.edu.