Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speight Jenkins Awarded Honorary Doctorate by New England Conservatory

This past Sunday, Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins was awarded an honorary doctorate by the New England Conservatory, as part of its 2011 Commencement ceremony. It was a thrill for Jenkins, who flew to Boston to accept the degree, along with his fellow honorees: violinist Jorja Fleezanis, composer Steve Reich, and musicologist Leo Treitler. A vital part of Boston's and the nation's music scene, New England Conservatory was founded in 1867; its faculty, 225 internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars, trains a student body of 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world each year. The school presents 600 free concerts each year, many of which are carried by 250 partner NPR stations around the country.

Says Jenkins, "I am honored to be a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, one of the leading music schools in the nation. It was particularly gratifying to me have been nominated for this award by Luretta Bybee, one of the distinguished and versatile artists who have often appeared at Seattle Opera."

Speight Jenkins with Luretta Bybee and NEC President Tony Woodcock.

Bybee, a mezzo-soprano and the Executive Director and Chair of Opera Studies at the NEC, made her Seattle Opera debut in the 1990 production of War and Peace, and has appeared in a dozen roles since then, including leading roles and supporting characters. In 2004, she sang both the title role in Carmen and the small part of Wowkle (in Puccini's Fanciulla del West) for Seattle Opera. Bybee was most recently seen in Seattle as Amanda in the world premiere of Amelia last year.

Have a look at a few pictures from this special day, below:

Speight Jenkins with his fellow honorees. From left to right: Steve Reich, Jenkins, Jorja Fleezanis, and Leo Treitler.

Bybee adorns Jenkins with the cowl during the graduation ceremony.

Jenkins receives his honorary doctorate and shakes the hand of NEC President Tony Woodcock.

Many thanks to NEC and photographer Miro Vintoniv for photos.