Wynton Marsalis To Deliver The Commencement Address At Juilliard's 113th Commencement Ceremony
The Juilliard School today announced that alumnus Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter, director of Juilliard Jazz Studies, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, will address the graduates at the school's 113th commencement ceremony, which takes place Friday, May 18, 2018, at 11am in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Mr. Marsalis received an honorary doctor of music degree from Juilliard in 2006. This will be the final commencement for Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi, who has had a long association with Mr. Marsalis and asked that he be the commencement speaker. In July, Damian Woetzel will begin as the school's seventh president.
During the ceremony, Juilliard will confer honorary doctorates upon five remarkable individuals: opera singer Grace Bumbry; bassist and former Juilliard faculty member Ron Carter; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Lynn Nottage; Ballet Hispánico founder Tina Ramirez; and Ann Ziff, philanthropist and chairman of the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Bumbry and Mr. Carter will be receiving honorary doctor of music degrees; and Ms. Nottage and Ms. Ramirez will be receiving honorary doctor of fine arts degrees. Ms. Ziff will be receiving an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
President Polisi will read special citations and present degrees to all five honorees, who will be garbed in Juilliard's traditional academic robes and velvet caps and who will receive their ceremonial doctoral hoods onstage.
The ceremony will be live streamed at juilliard.edu/live.
Wynton Marsalis('81, trumpet) is director of jazz studies at Juilliard and managing and artistic director at Jazz at Lincoln Center. A world-renowned trumpeter, composer, educator, and leading advocate for American culture, he was born in New Orleans in 1961 and made his recording debut as a leader in 1982. He has since made more than 80 jazz and classical recordings and has won nine Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year. To date he is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards in five consecutive years (1983-87). Mr. Marsalis is the recipient of honorary doctorates from more than 25 of America's top academic institutions including Columbia, Harvard, Howard, Princeton, Yale, and Juilliard. His creativity has been celebrated the world over. In 1997 he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. In 2001 he was appointed Messenger of Peace by Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, and in 2005, he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the U.S. government. In 2016 he received the National Humanities Medal for his work inspiring music lovers everywhere to embrace America's quintessential sound. Mr. Marsalis has written six books including Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits, Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life, and most recently, Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!. Mr. Marsalis helped lead the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center's home, the Frederick P. Rose Hall, which opened its doors in 2004. Biographies of Honorary Degree Recipients
Grace Ann Melzia Bumbry, born January 4, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, showed extraordinary musical gifts at a young age. Her parents, Benjamin, a railroad company freight handler, and Melzia, a schoolteacher, whole-heartedly supported her passion for music. Playing the piano and singing in the church youth choir prepared Grace for her voice lessons with Kenneth Billups, a legendary St. Louis teacher and conductor. As a teenager at the all-black Sumner High school, she heard Marian Anderson in concert at the downtown Kiel Auditorium. That inspiring experience, together with her ravishing vocal material and unwavering determination set Grace on the way to one of the most illustrious operatic and concert careers in American history. At the age of 15, Grace won a music competition sponsored by the local CBS radio affiliate, the powerful KMOX, singing Verdi's "O don fatale." Her prize, a scholarship to the St. Louis Conservatory of Music (CASA), was denied her by the CASA administration because of her skin color. The embarrassed St. Louis station director, Robert Hyland, facilitated Grace's acceptance as a singer on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, the popular nationally syndicated radio show. Her performance of "O don fatale" received thunderous audience applause and moved the tearful Godfrey himself to declare her the winner, predicting (correctly) that "Grace Bumbry's name will be one of the most famous names in music one day." The young singer left St. Louis to study at Boston University, transferring after one year to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. There Grace came under the influence of a most important mentor, Lotte Lehmann, who took her to the Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. Grace worked diligently with the famed German soprano for three-and-a-half years. After winning first place at the 1958 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (sharing the prize with Martina Arroyo), Grace made her Paris concert and recital debut. That event immediately opened many doors-to professional management, to major opera roles, to a 1962 performance at the Kennedy White House, and to unrelenting fame on international stages. Under the aegis of impresario Sol Hurok, Grace made her Carnegie Hall debut and toured to 35 U.S. cities, including a performance in St. Louis at the Kiel Auditorium where she had heard Marian Anderson only eight years earlier. Grace's opera career began onstage at the Paris Opéra in 1960, where she made her debut singing Amneris. At age 23 she became the first person of color to sing at the house. At age 24 she sang Carmen at the Paris Opéra in French and at Basel in German, and she was selected for Venus at the 1961 Bayreuth Festival by the director Wieland Wagner, the composer's grandson. Public outcry (this was only 17 years beyond the Nazi era in Germany) provoked Herr Wagner to defend "Die schwarze Venus" [the black Venus] by declaring, "My grandfather wrote for vocal color, not skin color." From that time, Grace's extraordinary talents and flexibility opened up the unique pathway that distinguished her career in the coming decades: she sang numberless soprano and mezzo-soprano roles with utter distinction in every major opera house in the world, inhabiting a veritable catalog of soprano and mezzo-soprano characters, frequently back-to-back. Salome, Carmen, Santuzza, Medea, Eboli, Jenufa, Gioconda, Leonora (Trovatore), Leonora (La Forza), Tosca, Turandot, Norma and Adalgisa (the last two in the same Covent Garden production in Martina Franca of Norma) ... and on and on and on. She last appeared at the Vienna State Opera at the age of 75 as the Countess in The Queen of Spades. Grace Bumbry's many honors attest to her wide-ranging fame and influence. Three of her awards merit special mention:
Many years after her memorable debut as Amneris at the Paris National Opéra, the company chose Grace to open its modern new house, the Opéra Bastille, which opened to great fanfare in 1990, with Grace ultimately singing both roles of Cassandra and Dido in Berlioz's Troyens.
France has honored Grace repeatedly for her contributions to the nation's great opera tradition, with the L'Officier and Commandeur des Arts et Lettres. Italy followed with the prestigious Puccini and Verdi awards. She counts the Bellini Award, given after her debut in the title role of Norma, as one of her most significant. In 2009 President Barack Obama presented Grace Melzia Bumbry with America's most glamorous performing arts award, The Kennedy Center Honors. Grace Bumbry's sound recordings for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, Dynamic, and Sony Classical have preserved her extraordinary achievements in opera and recital repertoire. In addition, her performances have been captured on videos that are widely available. Today Grace Bumbry teaches in Vienna and is a frequent guest of American and European universities, where she gives master classes. She serves as juror on most of the major competitions and is currently developing an online training portal, The Bumbry Way, for singers who are preparing for the rigors, and the successes, of a stage career. Who better to pass along the magic of such a calling?
Ronald L. Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz history, with more than 2,200 albums to his credit, an accomplishment honored in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records. He has recorded with greats including: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy and Cannonball Adderley. From 1963 to 1968, Mr. Carter was a member of the classic and acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He was named outstanding bassist of the decade by the Detroit News, jazz bassist of the year by Downbeat magazine, and MVP by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He earned two Grammy Awards, one in 1993 for best jazz instrumental group, and another in 1998 for "Call Sheet Blues" from the film Round Midnight. Mr. Carter has composed music for the classic films A Gathering of Old Men, The Passion of Beatrice, and Blind Faith. In 2014, he received the medallion and title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France's premier cultural award, from the French Minister of Culture. A bestselling author, Mr. Carter has written books including Building Jazz Bass Lines, and his biography Finding the Right Notes by Daniel Oullette is soon to be an audiobook. In 2016 he published Ron Carter's Comprehensive Bass Method, an advanced level book pioneering the use of QR codes to demonstrate technique in printed books. Additionally, Mr. Carter authored The Ron Carter Songbook, a collection of 119 original compositions. Mr. Carter's "Facebook Live" events are enjoyed around the world. Mr. Carter, who was on the Juilliard faculty from 2008-16 and was a guest faculty member in 2016-17, teaches master classes around the world and plays to sold-out crowds. He has received five honorary doctorates, including this one from Juilliard. In 2012 at a gala in Alice Tully Hall, Juilliard announced the creation of a scholarship in Mr. Carter's name.
Lynn Nottage is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a screenwriter. Her plays have been produced internationally. Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination), which moved to Broadway after a sold out run at The Public Theater, premiered and was commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Ms. Nottage's other work includes By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination, and performed at Juilliard in 2014); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs >From the Table of Joy, Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and POOF!. In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon on adapting her play Intimate Apparel into an opera (commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater). This Is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, is set to open at the Franklin Street Station, in Reading, Pennsylvania, in July. She is currently an artist in residence at the Park Avenue Armory.
Ms. Nottage is the co-founder of The Production Company Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout, directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Premiere/Sundance 2014); First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/IDFA, 2013) and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013-New Currents Award). Over the years, she has developed original projects for HBO, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Showtime, This Is That, and Harpo. She is a writer/producer of She's Gotta Have It, a Netflix series created by Spike Lee and based on his movie of the same name.
Ms. Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur "genius grant" fellowship, Steinberg "Mimi" Distinguished Playwright Award, PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, Merit and Literature Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, Columbia University Provost Grant, Doris Duke Artist Award, the Joyce Foundation Commission Project and Grant, the Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley Award, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Creativity, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, the Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest's August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, a Lucille Lortel Fellowship, and a visiting research fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She is also an associate professor in the theater department at Columbia School of the Arts.
Ms. Nottage is a board member of BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, Dramatist Play Service, Second Stage and the Dramatists Guild. She recently completed a three-year term as an artist trustee on the board of The Sundance Institute. She is member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America East.
Tina Ramirez brought contemporary Hispanic culture to the forefront of American dance through her vision for Ballet Hispánico, which she founded in 1970 and then served as artistic director of the company for 40 years. In recognition of her lifetime of achievements, Ms. Ramirez was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest cultural honor, in 2005. Her far-reaching commissions for Ballet Hispánico's company, 95 works from 50 choreographers, have brought an illuminating portrait of today's Latinos to more than two million people. Its School of Dance, rooted in her singular curriculum of ballet, modern, and Spanish dance techniques, has trained numerous professionals working in dance, theater, film and television. Her deep commitment to education, a vital component of the organization from its inception, has brought Ballet Hispánico's vibrant blend of dance and Hispanic culture to over 250,000 school students and teachers across the nation.Ms. Ramirez was born in Venezuela, the daughter of a Mexican bullfighter and the granddaughter of a Puerto Rican educator. She came to New York as a child, and studied dance with such luminaries as Lola Bravo, Alexandra Danilova and Anna Sokolow. Her performing career included international tours with the Federico Rey Dance Company, the first Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto with John Butler, and the Broadway productions of Kismet and Lute Song. Among her other awards are the Honor Award from Dance/USA, the Award of Merit from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Dance Magazine Award, and the New York State Governor's Arts Award.
Ann Ziff is chairman of the Metropolitan Opera. Her love for opera started at an early age. Her mother, Harriet Henders, an opera singer, sang the role of Sophie in a 1939 Met performance of Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, with Lotte Lehmann as the Marschallin and Risë Stevens as Octavian. Ms. Ziff was co-founder and founding chairman of Smile Train, served as chairman of the Rainforest Alliance for six years, and served on the boards of Carnegie Hall, Conservation International, and Maloto, an organization that provides education and housing for abused and abandoned girls in Malawi. Ms. Ziff is currently a vice chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing arts and vice chairman of the Artist Tribe Foundation. She serves on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History, Fairchild Tropical Garden, Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Opera Company, New York Restoration Project, Sing for Hope, and the World Science Festival. She is also a member of the Visiting Committee of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans and Friends of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. Ziff is the founder and producer of the Caribbean Community Theater in St. Croix. She has a master's of social work from New York University and worked as a psychiatric social worker in the New York City welfare system. She has a master's in music therapy from Temple University and is a visiting professor at Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple. Ms. Ziff has been a guest lecturer at Oxford University's Worcester College and Saïd Business School. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree in humanities from Wittenberg University. Ms. Ziff designs and makes jewelry under the eponymous label Tamsen Z. About The Juilliard School Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Juilliard's mission is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance, drama (acting and playwriting), and music (classical, jazz, historical performance, and vocal arts). Currently more than 800 artists from 43 states and 41 countries are enrolled at Juilliard, where they appear in over 700 annual performances in the school's five theaters; at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully and David Geffen Halls and at Carnegie Hall; as well as other venues around New York City, the country, and the world. Beyond its New York campus, Juilliard is defining new directions in global performing arts education for a range of learners and enthusiasts through The Tianjin Juilliard School and K-12 educational curricula.
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