May 5, 2022

MTT to receive honorary degree from Juilliard on May 20

Michael Tilson Thomas

The Juilliard School will present an honorary doctoral degree to NWS Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas at its 117th commencement ceremony on May 20, 2022 at 10:30 AM. The ceremony will be held outdoors on the Lincoln Center campus in Damrosch Park, presided over by Juilliard President Damian Woetzel. It will also be livestreamed at for those unable to attend in person. MTT will deliver the commencement address and conduct a brass ensemble in performing Ingolf Dahl’s Music for Brass Instruments at the ceremony.

In addition to MTT, Juilliard will also give the following leaders honorary degrees in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of arts and culture: dancer, teacher, and stager Masazumi Chaya; operatic bass-baritone and Juilliard alumnus Dr. Simon Estes; playwright Suzan-Lori Parks; and ethnomusicologist Dr. Ahmad Sarmast—founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

“The class of 2022 has been challenged by circumstances unimaginable when they first applied to Juilliard, and yet they have succeeded with unique distinction as they have risen above those challenges,” said Juilliard President Damian Woetzel. “We can look to them to be exceptionally innovative in the years to come. And as we also celebrate our five distinguished honorary doctorate recipients, our graduating students can draw inspiration from these powerful examples of artistic brilliance and societal impact.”

Commencement speaker and honorary doctorate recipient Michael Tilson Thomas is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting the world’s leading orchestras and winning 12 Grammy Awards for his recordings, Tilson Thomas is noted for his work as a composer and for producing projects dedicated to music education and the expansion of the concert experience. Tilson Thomas is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, member of the American Academies of Arts & Sciences and Arts & Letters, National Medal of Arts recipient, Peabody Award winner, and 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree.

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