The New England Conservatory (NEC) has announced that James Taylor will deliver the commencement address as well as receive an honorary doctorate degree at the school’s annual commencement ceremony, which will be held in-person at Jordan Hall in Boston on May 22 at 2 p.m. ET. Composer and conductor David Amram and children’s music performer Ella Jenkins will also receive honorary doctorate degrees at the ceremony. In addition, pianist Emmanuel Ax, who received an honorary degree in 2021, will speak via online remote. The ceremony will also include a special message from Ukrainian cellist Denys Karachevtsev, who was seen playing J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 in bombed-out Kharkiv in March 2022.
Among the past recipients of honorary doctorate degrees from NEC are several jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal, Carla Bley, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis.