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Di Meola Receives Honorary Degree At Berklee’s Campus In Valencia, Spain

Jazzed Magazine • News • July 11, 2018

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Berklee Provost Larry Simpson has presented an honorary doctor of music degree to legendary jazz, fusion, and world music guitarist, composer, bandleader, and producer Al Di Meola during the commencement ceremony for the master’s degree programs at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. Di Meola also performed as a special guest at the commencement concert at the City of Arts and Sciences on Saturday, which drew thousands of attendees.

“Collaborations with other players outside of your realm can ignite a new frontier,” Di Meola advised the graduates, reflecting on his time with Return to Forever and recording with de Lucía at Electric Lady Studios. He also shared his experience with tango master Astor Piazzolla. “Getting to know him as a friend began a very important chapter of my life as a composer. 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.”
“As much as music lessons were very important at the beginning, so were the vast amount of concerts and every music category I was fortunate enough to choose from, having had the proximity to New York City during the early seventies,” he said. “For me, it was the value of being able to express deeper emotions with an instrument than with words. What would life be without music, as well as all the other forms of artistic expression, I often ponder.”

To the graduates, he added, “I commend all of your dedication and the hard work you have spent during your school years, and I can imagine that many of you will go way beyond your comfort zone. In the process you will quite naturally mature as a musician.”

At the commencement ceremony, 131 graduates from more than 30 nations received master of music degrees in music production, technology, and innovation; scoring for film, television, and video games; and contemporary performance with a concentration in production; or master of arts degrees in global entertainment and music business.
“You are at the vanguard of contemporary music education, and each one of you has developed a skill set,” said Simpson, addressing the graduates. “Some of you may be feeling a bit headstrong; some of you might not be quite sure what’s next. Life awaits you and you will have to make choices…Congratulations on your achievement today, we await the magic that you will create.”

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