Leif Ove Andsnes and Wayne Shorter to Receive Honorary Doctorates at The Juilliard School’s 111th Commencement Ceremony

Mike Lawson • News • April 30, 2016

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Lief Ove AndsnesThe Juilliard School will confer honorary doctorates on five remarkable artists during its 111th Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 20, 2016, at 11am in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (Broadway at 65th Street, New York City).

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, actress and alumna Christine Baranski, jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, actress Cicely Tyson, and former dancer and Alvin Ailey II Artistic Director Emerita Sylvia Waters, an alumna of Juilliard, will be honored at the May 2016 Commencement Ceremony. 

Christine Baranski will give Juilliard’s Commencement Address. Juilliard President Joseph W. 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 will receive their ceremonial doctoral hoods onstage. The ceremony will be live streamed at live.juilliard.edu.

Receiving Juilliard’s Honorary Doctor of Music:

Leif Ove Andsnes

Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s commanding technique and searching interpretations have won him acclaim worldwide. This past fall, Concerto – A Beethoven Journey, a documentary by award-winning British director and filmmaker Phil Grabsky, was released. The film chronicles Mr. Andsnes’s epic four-season focus on the master composer’s music for piano and orchestra, which took him to 108 cities in 27 countries for more than 230 live performances. Highlights of this current season include major European and North American solo recital tours with a program of Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, and Sibelius, as well as Schumann and Mozart concerto collaborations with the Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia symphony orchestras, Bergen Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, among others. He is also touring Brahms’s three piano quartets with his frequent musical partner, Christian Tetzlaff, together with Tabea Zimmermann and Clemens Hagen.

Last season brought the conclusion of “The Beethoven Journey,” his most ambitious achievement to date. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he led complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in high-profile residencies in Hamburg, Bonn, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bodø, and London. The partnership was captured on disc by Sony Classical with both The New York Times and Suddeutsche Zeitung hailing the final box set release as the “Best of 2014.”

Mr. Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics spanning repertoire from the time of Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eight Grammys and awarded many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards.

Mr. Andsnes has received Norway’s distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Other awards include the Peer Gynt Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award, and the Gilmore Artist Award; Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970 and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory with renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. He is currently artistic adviser for the Professor Jirí Hlinka Piano Academy in Bergen where he gives an annual master class to participating students.

Wayne Shorter

Wayne ShorterThe music of Wayne Shorter has left an indelible mark on the development of music for the last half-century. He first rose to prominence in the late 1950s as the primary composer for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He next joined the Miles Davis Quintet, becoming what that bandleader referred to as the ensemble’s “intellectual musical catalyst” before co-founding the pioneering group Weather Report. Since 2001, he has led his own highly acclaimed quartet.

“Mr. Shorter’s mastery is in knocking down the wall between jazz and classical” (New York Times), and the Chicago Symphony, Lyon Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra are among the orchestras that have performed his symphonic compositions. Acclaimed artists and ensembles such as Renée Fleming and the Imani Winds have also performed his works.

He has received commissions from the St. Louis, Nashville, Detroit and National Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the La Jolla Music Society. In all, Mr. Shorter has realized over 200 compositions, works that are performed around the world by premiere artists and studied by students and scholars alike. 

Mr. Shorter’s outstanding record of professional achievement encompasses 11 Grammys including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2015. He has received honorary doctorates from New York University, New England Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music. In 1997, the National Endowment for the Arts presented Wayne Shorter with the Jazz Master Award.

In his current symphonic work, Mr. Shorter continues to evolve the dynamic between fully realized score and improvisation creating, in his words, a “flashlight into the unknown.” “I want to inspire the audience to feel what might be necessary in order to continue their journey in this life in a way that has never been done before,” says Mr. Shorter, “so that we can have a new way of dialoguing based on being comfort zone free, and summoning the courage to be fearlessly face the unknown and negotiate the unexpected.

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 for the Performing Arts 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 42 states and 38 countries are enrolled at The Juilliard School, where they appear in over 700 annual performances in the school’s five theaters; at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and David Geffen Hall, 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, K-12 educational curricula, and an increasing array of digital education products through its Juilliard/Digital brand.


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