Berklee to honor Eagles, Krauss at commencement

, Staff

Berklee College of Music will present the Eagles, Alison Krauss and Mulatu Astatke with honorary doctor of music degrees at the college’s commencement ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, May 12 at the Agganis Arena at Boston University.

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.”

The Eagles, currently comprised of Don Henley, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit, are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The band has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, with five number one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the best-selling album of all time, exceeding sales of 29 million units. The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Krauss, a bluegrass-country singer-songwriter and fiddle, signed with Rounder Records at 14. Now 40, the Illinois native has sold over 12 million albums and won 27 Grammy Awards, the most for any female and the second most of any recording artist in Grammy history. Her latest album, recorded with her longstanding band Union Station, was 2011’s Paper Airplane.

Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian musician (piano, organ, vibraphone, percussion), composer, and arranger. He is known as the father of Ethio-jazz, a unique blend of pop, modern jazz, traditional Ethiopian music, Latin rhythms, Caribbean reggae and Afro-funk. Astatke was the first African student at Berklee College of Music.

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 and Smokey Robinson. Last year’s recipients included Bebo and Chucho Valdes, Kenny Garrett, Michael McDonald and Mavis Staples.

On commencement eve, as is Berklee’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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