Berklee has been recognizing the achievements of the music industry's most influential figures since the early 1970s, when Duke Ellington received Berklee's first honorary Doctor of Music degree.
In 2013, the college launched a new effort to celebrate the work of master musicians through a series of specialized award programs. The artists listed below earned these honors not only by making great music, but by demonstrating the importance of following one's personal vision and leading new generations of musicians into the future.
Master of American Roots Music Award
Berklee grants the Master of American Roots Music Award to musicians who exemplify the practices and values of Berklee's American Roots Music Program, which explores America's musical and cultural heritage, focusing on styles such as country, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, Tex-Mex, and others.
Master of Global Entertainment Award
The Master of Global Entertainment Award recognizes industry leaders who have dedicated thier life and career to music and entertainment on a global scale by promoting multicultural diversity and developing opportunities for individuals from underserved communities to make their way into the industry.
- Yvette Noel-Schure – 2019
Master of Global Jazz Award
The Master of Global Jazz Award is given to artists who exemplify the practices and values of Berklee's Global Jazz Institute, which gives students opportunities to explore their creativity and musicianship to the highest level possible, advance the social power of music as a tool for the betterment of society, and connect musical creative thinking with the natural environment.
- Wayne Shorter – 2013
Master of Latin Music Award
Berklee grants the Master of Latin Music Award to musicians who exemplify the practices and values of Berklee Latino and Berklee Latin Music Studies, which explores Latin, Brazilian, Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, and others style to develop an understanding of both the performance aspects of Latin music and the history and cultures from which it was born and continues to thrive.
- Armando Manzanero – 2014
- Magos Herrera – 2015
- Fito Páez – 2015
- Rubén Rada – 2015
- Totó la Momposina – 2015
- Susana Baca – 2016
- Carlos Vives – 2017
- Julieta Venegas – 2017
Musical figures who are granted the Master of Mediterranean Music Award exemplify the practices and values of Berklee's Mediterranean Music Institute, which stimulates cultural exchange of the folk-based music traditions of the various regions of the Mediterranean, internationally promotes these traditions, and supports young and emerging talent from the area.
- José Mercé – 2014
- Pepe Habichuela – 2014
- Antonio Serrano – 2015
- Pepe de Lucía – 2015
- Aynur – 2017
- Mariza – 2017
- Israel "Piraña" Suarez – 2018
George Wein Impresario Award
The George Wein Impresario Award was created by Berklee to recognize individuals who bring music to life through their dedication to discovering, mentoring, presenting, and promoting creative musicians and their music. The award is named after George Wein, who invented the modern music festival in 1954 when he founded the Newport Jazz Festival. Wein has served on the Berklee Board of Trustees and is a lifelong friend of the college, where he has established a scholarship fund in memory of his wife Joyce.
American Master Award
The American Master Award is presented by Berklee to industry leaders whose openness, generosity, and deep commitment to music education have made a positive impact on the lives of young musicians, providing them opportunities to grow as artists and leaders.