7 to Be Presented With Honorary Degrees

The seven honorary degree recipients at commencement are, clockwise from top left: Alfred Brendel, Dawn Upshaw, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sonny Rollins, Ohad Naharin, Michael Moritz, and Harriet Heyman. Photos: Brendel (Barbara Klemm), Upshaw (Dario Acosta), Day-Lewis (Eric Broms), Rollins (Jamie-James Medina), Naharin (Maxim Waratt)



At Juilliard’s 108th commencement, on May 24, the class of 2013 will be addressed by Juilliard trustee Laura Leggett Linney (Group 19), who received an honorary degree in 2009. This year’s recipients represent a cross-section of the arts. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and choreographer Ohad Naharin will receive honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees; singer Dawn Upshaw, pianist Alfred Brendel, and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins will receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees; and philanthropists Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.


Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel was the first person to record Beethoven’s complete piano works. After 60-plus years, Brendel decided to stop performing in 2008 and has since devoted himself to teaching—he has given several master classes at Juilliard, for instance—and literary pursuits.

Brendel, who grew up in Zagreb and Graz, studied piano—his notable teachers were Edwin Fischer, Paul Baumgartner, and Eduard Steuermann (Juilliard faculty 1948-64)—and composition. Throughout his career, he performed with the world’s major orchestras and was highly influential in getting Schubert’s piano sonatas and the Schoenberg Piano Concerto recognized as integral parts of the repertoire. 

Brendel has published several collections of poetry and two books of essays, Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out; the latter won the 1990 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for writing. Brendel’s conversations with Martin Meyer, Ausgerechnet ich, were published in 2001; his A bis Z eines Pianisten (A to Z of Pianists) was published by Hanser Verlag in 2012.

Brendel received honorary degrees from Oxford and Yale and is an honorary Knight of the British Empire. He received lifetime achievement awards from MIDEM Cannes (the music trade fair), Holland’s Edison Awards, and Gramophone magazine. He also received the Beethoven Ring from Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts and the Leonie Sonning, Robert Schumann, Ernst von Siemens Prize, Venice, and Karajan prizes as well as Tokyo’s Praemium Imperiale and the South Bank Show Classical Music Award.

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis won his third best-actor Academy Award in February for his performance as the doomed president in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. The London native studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theater School for three years. In the 1970s and early ’80s, Day-Lewis worked on stage, appearing with, in addition to the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater, turning in notable performances in Another Country, Dracula, Futurists, and Hamlet, the latter in the title role.

Day-Lewis’s early film roles include Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), My Beautiful Launderette (1985), and A Room With a View (1985)—the latter two earned him the 1986 New York Film Critics Circle Award for best supporting actor. In 1989, he starred in Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot, for which he won a best actor Oscar. Day-Lewis was nominated for three more best actor Academy Awards: for Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father (1993), Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002), and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, for which he won in 2008. Day-Lewis, who lives in New York City, is also the recipient of three Screen Actors Guild Awards, five New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and three Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards. 

Juilliard benefactors Harriet Heyman and Michael Moritz will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. Heyman, who has a master’s from the University of Chicago, has worked on the staffs of Life magazine and The New York Times, and freelanced for numerous publications. Her novel, Between Two Rains, about a wildlife photographer’s journey to Africa, was published in 1989 by Atheneum. At 48, Heyman took up acrobatics and her book Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime (Rizzoli, 2011) explores in essays, paired with black-and-white photography by Acey Harper, the art and artistry of acrobats.

Born in Wales and educated at Oxford and the Wharton School, Michael Moritz worked as a writer and editor for Time magazine. His book about Apple’s origins is The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer (William Morrow & Co, 1984). Moritz is also a co-author of a book about Chrysler and its turnaround called Going for Broke (Doubleday, 1981). In 1986, he joined the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and was an early investor in such firms as Google, Yahoo, PayPal, and LinkedIn; he became Sequoia’s chairman in 2012. Moritz and Heyman, who are husband and wife, have made generous gifts in the U.K. and the U.S. to provide scholarship assistance and address the world’s “wealth gap.” In February, the couple pledged
$5 million to the endowment of Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program (MAP), a Saturday instrumental program for tristate-area students ages 8 to 14 who are underrepresented in the performing arts.

Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, a Juilliard alumnus, is the artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company and the originator of an innovative movement language, Gaga, which has emerged as a growing force in the larger field of movement practices for dancers and nondancers. 

Born on an Israeli kibbutz, Naharin (’77, dance) began his dance training with Batsheva in 1974, and during his first year with the company, visiting choreographer Martha Graham (Juilliard faculty 1951-77) invited him to join her company in New York. While in New York, Naharin studied at the School of American Ballet and Juilliard, and then performed internationally with Israel’s Bat-Dor Dance Company and Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle in Brussels before returning to New York to form the Ohad Naharin Dance Company. He has been in his current position with Batsheva since 1990, with the exception of the 2003-04 season, when he was the house choreographer. 

A trained musician, Naharin has collaborated with such musical artists as Israeli rock group the Tractor’s Revenge, Avi Belleli, and Dan Makov. His dances have been performed by companies including Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Frankfurt, Lyon Opera Ballet, the Finnish National Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. His awards include the Israel Prize for Dance, a Foundation for Jewish Culture achievement award, an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University, two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards, and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

Jazz luminary Sonny Rollins (whose full name is Walter Theodore Rollins) grew up in Harlem and was inspired by the songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan to play the alto saxophone. At age 16, he picked up the tenor saxophone, trying to emulate his idol, Coleman Hawkins, and by age 20, he was working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J. J. Johnson, Bud Powell, and Miles Davis.

In 1955, Rollins joined the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, and during that time, earned the nickname Newk after a cabdriver mistook him for Brooklyn Dodgers ace pitcher Don Newcombe. The following year, he began his first series of recordings, Valse Hot, St. Thomas, and Blue 7. Dissatisfied with the music business, Rollins took a sabbatical in 1966 and traveled in Japan and India, spending time in a monastery and learning about Eastern religions. He re-emerged in the early 1970s with the encouragement of his wife, Lucille, and signed with Milestone to release Next Album. He went on to produce two dozen albums with Milestone, including recordings with Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter (Juilliard Jazz faculty since 2008). 

Rollins won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do, in 2000, and his second for Without a Song (the 9/11 Concert), in 2004. Also that year, he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and in 2006 was inducted into the Academy of Achievement. In 2009, he received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, and the following year he was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and became the first jazz composer to be named an Edward MacDowell medalist. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Rollins with a National Medal of Arts.

Soprano Dawn Upshaw is a four-time Grammy recipient and a 2007 fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. Her repertoire spans the great Mozart roles to works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. She has performed on stages all over the world, including at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, and has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, and the Knights, to name a few. 

A Nashville native who received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University (from which she also received an honorary degree), Upshaw was a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and a 1985 winner of the Walter W. Naumburg Competition. She was also a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. Numerous works have been written for Upshaw, including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison, which premiered at the Met in 1999; Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone; John Adams’s oratorio El Niño (which she also recorded); and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre.

Upshaw’s discography includes more than 60 recordings and features performances of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Assise, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 (which sold more than a million copies), two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, and a dozen recitals. She is the artistic director of the vocal arts program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. She has received honorary doctorates from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, and Allegheny College.

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