New England Conservatory Announces 2021 Honorary Degree Recipients

Five distinguished figures in the music industry will receive their Honorary Doctor of Music degrees at the conservatory's 150th commencement

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(Honory Doctorate Recipient Deborah Borda)

The recipients include Former NEC Chair of Afro-American Studies and Jazz Department Carl J. Atkins, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic Deborah Borda, gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and luminary classical pianist Emanuel Ax.

This year's commencement address will be given by American singer Mavis Staples. The ceremony will also award degrees in Bachelor of Music, Graduate Diploma, Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Artist Diploma to 190 students.

"We’re thrilled to celebrate NEC’s Classes of 2020 and 2021 at our 150th commencement ceremony," President Andrea Kalyn said in a statement. "The past year has tested us all, and I am especially proud of our NEC graduates, who have prevailed in developing and sharing their artistry — whether streaming a concert from their home or from Jordan Hall, performing private virtual concerts for COVID patients, or teaching online lessons to front-line workers. They advance humanity through their music, and I am excited to see the impact they will have on the broader world."

A pre-commencement concert featuring NEC students will be streamed on May 22, 2021.