The New England Conservatory has bestowed honorary Doctor of Music degrees on composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton and Parliament / Funkadelic co-founder Bernie Worrell and three others at its 145th annual Commencement Exercises.
Since 1956, New England Conservatory has conferred honorary Doctor of Music degrees on individuals who have made significant contributions to music, the arts, and human values.
As Co-Founder, Musical Director, and Arranger of the legendary band Parliament / Funkadelic, Bernie Worrell helmed the group to international acclaim, broadening its bluesy foundation harmonically with analog synthesizer technology. Worrell’s work can be heard on music from Talking Heads, Keith Richards, the Pretenders, the Last Poets, Jack Bruce, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sly & Robbie, Ginger Baker, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Stewart and Fela Kuti, just to name a few.
American composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton is a seminal figure in free jazz and improvised music, releasing over 100 albums since the 1960s and writing hundreds of compositions. In 2010, he founded the Tri-Centric Foundation-a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of creative artists. Braxton has received a number of high profile awards and commendations including being made a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2014.
Other NEC 2016 Honorary Degree recipients included conductor Leonard Slatkin, soprano Martina Arroyo, and composer Malcolm Peyton.