From now on, you can refer to them ad Dr. Henley, Dr. Frey, Dr. Schmit, Dr. Walsh, Dr. Krauss and Dr. Astatke, at least in an honorary sense. The members of the Eagles, Alison Krauss and Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke were given honorary doctor of music degrees this past Saturday by the Berklee School of Music.
Last night at the ceremony Don Henley said, “Sometimes I worry about the future of music and culture. But, after what we all witnessed here last night, I have renewed hope and faith in the future of music. It was truly inspiring.”
Mulati Astatke is the first African to receive a doctorate. “At Berklee, I was immersed in a motivating and creative academic environment where Ethio-jazz was conceived,” said Astatke. “You now have the skills and the education to create new innovations in music . . . You are a selected few with a special gift, and we all have great expectations for you”.
Berklee released a statement on the awards. “This year’s honorary doctorate recipients were recognized for their achievements in contemporary music, for their enduring contributions to popular culture, and for the influence their careers and music have had over Berklee’s international student body. The Eagles, Krauss, and Astatke join the ranks of such esteemed recipients as Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, David Bowie, Bonnie Raitt, Count Basie, Sting, Loretta Lynn, B.B. King, Billy Joel, Chaka Khan, Steven Tyler, and Patti LaBelle”.
About this year’s graduates Berklee explains, “Berklee’s Class of 2012 graduated with bachelor of music degrees or professional diplomas. Female graduates numbered 280, representing 31 percent of the total class. International students from 58 countries made up 34 percent of the class. The largest number of graduates from outside the United States were from South Korea and Japan. Students from as far away as Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Belgium, Vietnam, Ukraine, and Slovenia were among the graduating class. Domestic students were from 46 states—the greatest number from California, Massachusetts, and New York. The top three majors were professional music, performance, and music business/management. Guitar, voice, and piano were the three most common instruments among students of the graduating class”.