Ornette Coleman Awarded Honorary Degree from University of Michigan

Saxophonist given honorary doctorate of music in Ann Arbor, with President Obama in attendance

Robert Hurst, Ed Sarth, Steve Rush (back), Ellen Rowe, Andrew Bishop (back), Ornette Coleman, Michael Gould (back), Geri Allen  image 0
Lee Mergner

Robert Hurst, Ed Sarth, Steve Rush (back), Ellen Rowe, Andrew Bishop (back), Ornette Coleman, Michael Gould (back), Geri Allen

Ornette Coleman received an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The event also included a commencement address by President Barack Obama.

Here is the text of the official ceremony:

“Mr. Coleman, your performances and your path-breaking theories of jazz and music have transformed how musicians play and what listeners hear. Your self-taught musical education blossomed into a radically novel sound, giving the world musical styles it had never heard before. In your long career of ongoing creativity, you have played a vital role in preserving and enhancing America’s cultural legacy, and you have cultivated the talent of the future. The University of Michigan is proud to present you with the honorary degree, Doctor of Music.”

Saxophonist Ellen Rowe is the chair of the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. Other jazz faculty at the school includes Geri Allen, Andrew Bishop, Michael Gould, Robert Hurst, Ed Sarath and Dennis Wilson.