Berklee to award Jimmy Page honorary doctorate

, Staff

Berklee College of Music will honor legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page with an honorary doctor of music degree as part of their annual commencement ceremony. The Boston institution will also honor Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson and Thara Memory with honorary doctorate degrees at the ceremony, which will be held at the Agganis Arena on Saturday, May 10.

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients, according to a press release, are being recognized for their “achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture.”

In an email to Rolling Stone, Page commented that, “It’s truly an honour to be the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at Berklee as the music of America has been a primary driving force in my early years and pivotal to my musical development.”

Page is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a sa member of the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. He has been recognized as one of the greatest and most versatile guitarists in history.

Allen is a jazz pianist, composer, educator, and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. Over her expansive career, the Detroit native released nearly 20 albums as a leader, and worked with an array of artists.

Simpson is half of the songwriting, production, and performing entity formerly known as Ashford and Simpson. With her late husband Nick Ashford, she co-wrote and produced numerous pop and soul hits for music legends such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan.

Memory is a trumpeter, composer, and teacher who has earned the reputation as one of the finest musicians and music educators in Portland, Oregon, his home for more than 40 years. Born and raised in Florida, he has played with Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Natalie Cole, the Four Tops, and Stanley Turrentine, among others. He shares a 2013 Grammy Award with his former student, Berklee alumna Esperanza Spalding, for his arrangement of the track “City of Roses” from her album Radio Music Society.

Past honorary doctorate recipients at Berklee include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, U2’s The Edge, Loretta Lynn, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Smokey Robinson, the Eagles and Alison Krauss. Last year’s recipients included Carole King, Willie Nelson and Annie Lennox.

On commencement eve, as is Berkleeā€™s tradition, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with their careers at the Agganis Arena. The concert and ceremony are not open to the public.

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