Aretha: Music Legend

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This year’s Honorary Doctorate recipients – Etheridge, Franklin, McGhee, and Scheiner - are being honored for their achievements in the world of music, and for their enduring contributions to American culture. Past recipients include Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, and Ahmet Ertegun. On commencement eve, as is Berklee’s tradition, students will pay tribute by performing music associated with Etheridge, Franklin, McGhee, and Scheiner, at Matthews Arena.

Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown will present Grammy-winning singer songwriter Melissa Etheridge, soul music legend Aretha Franklin, internationally celebrated saxophonist and educator Andy McGhee, and Grammy-award winning producer and engineer Elliot Scheiner, with Honorary Doctor of Music degrees at Berklee College of Music’s Commencement on Saturday, May 13, 10:00 a.m. at Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena.  Commencement speaker Melissa Etheridge will address more than 800 graduates and their invited guests at the 4,000-seat venue.

This year’s Honorary Doctorate recipients – Etheridge, Franklin, McGhee, and Scheiner - are being honored for their achievements in the world of music, and for their enduring contributions to American culture.  Past recipients include Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, and Ahmet Ertegun.

On commencement eve, as is Berklee’s tradition, students will pay tribute by performing music associated with Etheridge, Franklin, McGhee, and Scheiner, at Matthews Arena.  The Commencement Concert and Ceremony are not open to the public.

Singer/songwriter, guitarist and Berklee alumna Melissa Etheridge is one of the most popular recording artists in rock.  Since 1988 she has released nine albums, sold more than thirty million records worldwide, and won the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance twice.

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is an iconic gospel, soul, and R&B singer, and one of the most influential vocalists of her time.  In her 45-year career, she has won 17 Grammy Awards, and is the second most honored female singer in Grammy history.  Franklin was awarded The National Medal of the Arts and The Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Berklee Professor Emeritus Andy McGhee is an internationally renowned saxophonist and educator.  In 1966, after many years as a soloist and arranger with Lionel Hampton and Woody Herman, McGhee turned down an offer to join Count Basie’s band, and accepted a teaching position at Berklee. Students of McGhee who have gone on to successful careers as saxophonists include Bill Pierce, Javon Jackson, Donald Harrison, and Greg Osby, among others.

Elliot Scheiner is one of the most sought after producers and engineers in the industry.  He has produced and engineered Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, The Eagles, B.B. King, Aerosmith, Beck, and R.E.M., among others.  He has been nominated for 16 Grammys, and won five, has two Emmy nominations, and three TEC award nominations.

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 70 plus 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.

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