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Honorary Degrees 2010

Alex Ross Gives Commencement Address. Honorary Degrees to Tuttle, Quincy Jones, Kellaway, at May 23 Exercises

New England Conservatory to Bestow Honorary Doctorates on Quincy Jones, Roger Kellaway, Alex Ross, Karen Tuttle

Commencement Exercises May 23 Will Feature Address by Ross, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Critics Award-winning Author

New England Conservatory will award honorary doctorates to five distinguished musical figures at its Commencement Exercises, May 23 at 3 p.m. in NEC’s Jordan Hall.  President Tony Woodcock will confer the awards on Quincy Jones, Roger Kellaway, Alex Ross, and Karen Tuttle (her husband Dr. Morton Herskowitz will accept for her).  Ross, three-time ASCAP/ Deems Taylor Award-winning music critic for The New Yorker, will give the commencement address. At the ceremonies, the Conservatory will also bestow degrees and diplomas (Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Graduate Diploma) on approximately 240 undergraduate and graduate students.  The exercises are open to the public.

The honorary degrees pay tribute to musicians who have made outstanding contributions in jazz, film and television scoring, music criticism, instrumental pedagogy, composition, and advocacy for music and social justice. 

Alex Ross (in photo above) has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote for the New York Times. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, was published in 2007 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and became a national bestseller. Selected as one of the New York Times's ten best books of year, The Rest Is Noise won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Creative Communication Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Samuel Johnson Prize.

Ross has received an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music, a Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center, fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin and the Banff Centre, and three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has served as a McGraw Professor in Writing at Princeton University, and in 2008 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. His next book, Listen to This, will appear in October 2010. A native of Washington, DC, Ross now lives in Manhattan. He is married to the actor and filmmaker Jonathan Lisecki.

Quincy JonesQuincy JonesWinner of 26 Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award, Quincy Jones has been a protean figure in jazz performance, recording production, film scoring and producing, arranging, and television broadcasting. A prominent supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Operation Breadbasket and Jesse Jackson’s People United to Save Humanity (PUSH), he has also been a lifelong advocate for African-American arts and artists as well as music education.

Throughout his career, he has been extraordinarily astute and lucky in the artistic associations he has made, beginning with the combo he formed with Ray Charles when he was still a young teen.  He worked with jazz greats Lionel Hampton, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, and Cannonball Adderley. He studied composition with such classical icons as Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen. For his first film scoring job, he was recruited by Sidney Lumet to compose the music for The Pawnbroker (the first of 33 film scores he has written). When he became involved in film producing, it was to co-produce The Color Purple with Steven Spielberg.  And when he returned to producing records after a near fatal aneurism, it was to team with Michael Jackson, first on Off the Wall and then on Thriller

Jones is co-CEO and chairman of Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE). a co-venture with Time-Warner, Inc. At the same time, he runs his own record label, Qwest Records and is Chairman and CEO of Qwest Broadcasting, one of the largest minority-owned broadcasting companies in the United States. Jones' Quincy Jones Foundation supports and promotes initiatives around the world that contribute to the health, well-being and dignity of children.  Its mission is to give young people a voice to inspire and empower them to live to their fullest potential.

Roger KellawayRoger KellawayPianist and composer Roger Kellaway was born in Waban, Massachusetts, attended Newton High School, where he played double bass and percussion in the school orchestra and performed in an extracurricular jazz band. From high school, he went on to the New England Conservatory where he studied piano, double bass, and composition.

After a New York chapter in his career where he was a much sought-after pianist, performing with such stars as Lena Horne, he moved to Hollywood.  There, he was engaged in studio work, both as performer and composer, teaming up with performers such as Bobby Darin and writing for film and television.  Kellaway’s most prized television credit is, Remembering You, the closing theme for All in the Family.  Composed in 1970, it is still being heard on TV around the world.  He has also been honored with a Grammy award for his music on the album Memos From Paradise for Eddie Daniels.  He has written (and conducted) twenty six film scores including Barbra Streisand's A Star is Born for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Described as a musical chameleon, Kellaway boasts a discography that runs to more than two hundred fifty albums. He's performed with everyone from Elvis to Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie to Yo Yo Ma, Joni Mitchell to Mancini, and Quincy Jones to Michael Tilson Thomas.  He has been commissioned to write a ballet for George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet, orchestral pieces for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the New American Orchestra, and a concerto, "Songs of Ascent," commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, conductor. He also wrote a variety of chamber works for Carnegie Hall performances and served as musical director for Stephane Grappelli’s 80th Birthday Tribute which included Yo Yo Ma’s first journey into Jazz.

In 2008, Kellaway won the prestigious award Prix du Jazz Classique (the French “Grammy”) for The Roger Kellaway Trio Heroes (dedicated to Oscar Peterson). And late last year, he orchestrated and conducted the music for Clint Eastwood’s new film, Invictus.

Karen TuttleKaren TuttleThe beloved violist and teacher Karen Tuttle celebrated her 90th birthday in March. She was born in Lewiston, Idaho, to Eunice, a choir director, and Ray, a country fiddler. According to former student Carol Rodland, the free-spirited Tuttle quit school after eighth grade and turned her energies fully to the study of the violin.
After some high-level freelancing in Hollywood, she made another of her life-changing decisions—to switch from violin to viola and to study with the great William Primrose. She had seen Primrose perform and was captivated by the physical freedom and ease with which he played.  She wanted to learn how that was possible.  So she changed instruments and moved to Philadelphia to study with her new guru at the Curtis Institute.  Soon she became his assistant and succeeded him as head of the viola and chamber music departments. 

Moving to New York City, she played a great deal of chamber music, and was a member of the Gotham, Galimir, and Schneider Quartets. She also became the first woman to join the NBC Orchestra. Her marriage in 1957 to Reichian psychoanalyst Dr. Morton Herskowitz (they have been married for 53 years) resulted in a move back to Philadelphia, where she lives to this day. Her teaching positions over the years have included professorships at the University of Albany, Philadelphia Musical Academy, Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, a return to Curtis in 1978 and a stint at Juilliard from 1987-2003. During the summers she has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and the Banff Center for the Arts.

Tuttle was powerfully influenced not only by Primrose but also by cellist Pablo Casals, the violinist-physician Demetrios Constantine Dounis, and Dr. Wilhelm Reich, each of whom helped her develop her ideas that beauty and expressivity in playing are linked to physical and emotional well-being. These ideas came to be known as Tuttle’s “coordination” technique.

Tuttle’s students include a wide-range of very individual performers including Rodland, Kim Kashkashian (of NEC’s faculty), Susan Dubois, Jeffrey Irvine, Michelle LaCourse, Katherine Murdock, Lynne Ramsey, Karen Ritscher.

For further information, check the NEC Website

NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. St. Botolph Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave
Boston, Ma 02115