David Foster and Shirley Horn to Be Honored at Commencement

By 
Sarah Murphy
April 12, 2002

Two musicians who have made indelible contributions to the field of popular music will receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Berklee College of Music. Hit record producer David Foster and legendary jazz vocalist Shirley Horn will be honored at Berklee's 2002 Commencement, Saturday, May 11, at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston. Foster will deliver the Commencement Address to approximately 600 graduates and 3,000 guests.

The evening before commencement, students will present a concert tribute to the honorees, performing selections from each of their extremely distinguished careers. The 2002 Commencement Concert will be broadcast live on the Internet, and can be viewed at www.berklee.edu, beginning at 7:15 p.m. EST. The webcast also will be archived on the Berklee website for future viewing.

Producer David Foster, originally from British Columbia, has won fourteen Grammys, out of a total of 42 nominations for his work as a songwriter, arranger, and producer. He has won both Producer of the Year and Album of the Year three times. Foster produced several of the 1990s' biggest hits, include "Unforgettable" by Natalie Cole, "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston, and "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. He also has produced music by Toni Braxton, the Corrs, Barbara Streisand, and Chicago.

In addition, Foster has written and produced music for feature films, earning three Academy Award nominations and winning the Golden Globe for the song "The Prayer," from the soundtrack to The Quest for Camelot. He is also the founder and chairman of 143 Records, a joint venture with the Warner Music Group.

Shirley Horn, of Washington, D.C., is widely regarded as the premier singing pianist in jazz since Nat "King" Cole, and is renowned for her ability to negotiate melodies and lyrics at an exquisitely unhurried pace. Horn's career spans five decades and has included collaborations with fellow jazz greats Kenny Burrell, Johnny Mandel, Hank Jones, Quincy Jones, and her mentor Miles Davis.

Horn's 1992 recording Here's to Life was the year's top selling jazz album, and earned a Grammy for arranger Johnny Mandel. In 1998, Horn paid tribute to Davis with the album I Remember Miles, which won her the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Her most recent album, You're My Thrill, was released last year to widespread acclaim.

Foster and Horn will join such Berklee honorary doctorate recipients as Duke Ellington, David Bowie, B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, Sting, James Taylor, Pat Metheny, Dizzy Gillespie, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, and alumnus Quincy Jones.

Founded in 1945, Berklee College of Music has been advancing careers in contemporary music for more than 50 years. The world's largest independent college of music, Berklee has a multi-cultural enrollment of more than 3,300 students, 30 percent of whom are international. The college's alumni include some of the most respected figures in contemporary music, including many multi-Grammy Award–winners.