Steve Winwood To Receive Honorary Doctor of Music Degree
Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire, Steve Winwood, Howard Shore, and Rosa Passos, to Receive Honorary Doctor of Music Degrees at Berklee's Commencement, May 10
Winwood Performs in Concert, May 8
BOSTON, MA- April 8, 2008 - Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown will present Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire; Steve Winwood; film composer and Berklee alumnus Howard Shore; and Brazilian artist Rosa Passos with honorary doctor of music degrees at Berklee College of Music's Commencement on Saturday, May 10, 10:00 a.m., at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Commencement speaker Philip Bailey will address more than 800 Berklee graduates and invited guests at the 7,000-seat venue.
This year's honorary doctorate recipients are being honored for their achievements in the world of music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture. Past recipients include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, Michel Camilo, Chaka Khan, Loretta Lynn, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, and Ahmet Ertegun.
Steve Winwood, a pioneer of rock whose music has influenced generation of musicians, will be performing a special concert of his career-spanning hits, in the intimate space of the Berklee Performance Center on Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m., in appreciation of receiving the honorary degree. The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. Tickets, on sale April 9 at the BPC box office and ticketmaster.com, are $35, $50, and $70.
On commencement eve, as is Berklee's tradition, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with Bailey, White, Winwood, Shore, and Passos at the Agganis Arena. The commencement concert and ceremony are not open to the public.
Philip Bailey, a percussionist and singer with an amazing four-octave vocal range, joined Earth Wind & Fire in 1971, and helped solidify the groundbreaking band's reputation as one of the most electrifying live and recorded acts in pop music. In addition to fronting the multi-Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling group, Bailey recorded three jazz albums and four gospel albums, including the Grammy Award-winner, Triumph. He also released four pop albums, including the 1984 release Chinese Wall, produced by Phil Collins and featuring their hit duet, "Easy Lover." Earth Wind & Fire's 2006 concert tour - dubbed "The Illuminate Love Tour" - supported an awareness campaign for The Philip Bailey Music Is Unity Foundation, an organization that invests in the education of young people who have been emancipated in the foster care system.
Maurice White founded Earth Wind & Fire in 1969 intending to abolish the lines between musical genres. The group succeeded with a winning combination of soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock, and dance music that melded to become pop. Their 1971 debut netted the band a loyal following and many hit albums followed, including That's the Way of the World, Spirit, Faces, and Powerlight. Earth Wind & Fire have earned eight Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, eight double platinum/Top 10 pop albums, eight #1 R&B singles - including "Shining Star," "Serpentine Fire," "September," and "Let's Groove," - induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Lifetime Achievement honors from the NAACP, ASCAP, and BET. White also released a solo album; produced artists including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Ramsey Lewis, Grover Washington, Jr., and Deniece Williams; founded Kalimba Records; and co-authored the off-Broadway musical Hot Feet, with Maurice Hines.
Steve Winwood was a teenager when he gained fame as the singer of the Spencer Davis Group. The band scored hits with "Gimme Some Lovin,'" and "I'm a Man," and Winwood's singing drew comparisons to his idol Ray Charles. In 1967, he formed Traffic with Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, and Dave Mason. The group produced some of the most inventive and durable works of the late‘60s. In 1969 Winwood and Eric Clapton formed Blind Faith with Ginger Baker and Rick Grech. A re-formed Traffic later released acclaimed albums including John Barleycorn Must Die, and The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. Winwood launched his solo career in 1977 with a self-titled album. Arc of a Diver, Talking Back to the Night, Back in the High Life - which won two Grammy Awards - and Roll With It followed, producing hits like "While You See a Chance," "Valerie," and "Higher Love." Winwood has collaborated with musicians from around the globe, including Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, James Brown, Muddy Waters, Toots & the Maytals, Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Tito Puente and the Fania All Stars, Japanese innovator Stomu Yamashta, and African percussionist Remi Kabaka. Winwood tours with Tom Petty this summer in support of his new album, Nine Lives.
Howard Shore is among today's most respected, honored, and active film composers and music conductors. Setting the standard for evocative and expressive film scores, Shore creates music that is instantly recognized and resonates long past the life of the film. His work with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings trilogy stands as his most towering achievement to date, earning him three Academy Awards, four Grammys, and three Golden Globes. After attending Berklee, Shore recorded and toured with the group Lighthouse from 1969 to 1972. He then served as the original musical director on Saturday Night Live, conducting the broadcasts from 1975 to 1980. At the same time, he began collaborating with David Cronenberg, and has scored 12 of the director's films, including The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, and A History of Violence. Shore continues to distinguish himself with a wide range of projects, from Martin Scorsese's The Departed, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York, to Ed Wood, Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Rosa Passos is a Brazilian singer and songwriter known for keeping traditional Brazilian jazz alive with all of its mystery, rhythm, and romance intact. Fans all over the world know her to be loyal to her Afro-Brazilian culture, maintaining the soulful cool of bossa nova without commercial compromise. On stage and in her recordings, she sings in a sweet, warm voice that the Los Angeles Times reports as, "sounding a bit like the legendary Elis Regina but with the rhythmic articulation of Ella Fitzgerald." Passos released her first recording in 1979, and her music has since become internationally recognized. Kenny Rankin and Diana Krall are among many who have recorded her songs. She worked with Ivan Lins and Chucho Valdez on a Cubadisco show in Havana, and collaborated with legendary bassist Ron Carter on the album Entre Amigos/Among Friends. Passos also sang and played guitar on Yo-Yo Ma's Grammy Award-winning Obrigado Brazil, leading to a world tour and a follow-up live recording. Her recent releases include Amorosa for the Sony Classical label, Rosa Por Rosa, and a self-titled 2006 album.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry "who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today - and tomorrow.