Guitarist/composer Al Di Meola was presented on Monday (July 9) with an honorary Doctor of Music degree during the commencement ceremony for the master’s degree programs at the Berklee College of Music’s campus in Valencia, Spain. Di Meola also performed as a special guest at the commencement concert at the City of Arts and Sciences.
“Collaborations with other players outside of your realm can ignite a new frontier,” Di Meola told graduates at the ceremony. According to a press release, the musician reflected on his time with Return to Forever and recording with fellow guitarist Paco de Lucía. He also shared his experiences with tango master Astor Piazzolla. “Getting to know [Piazzolla] as a friend began a very important chapter of my life as a composer,” Di Meola said. “It was the introduction to his music that I sensed had the right ingredients to touch the heart, and at the same time challenge me intellectually as a player, and a listener. That was, still is, my goal and what I set out to do.”