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Renowned tenor and international conductor Placido Domingo was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree by Berklee College of Music at its campus in Valencia, Spain on Friday, April 4. The event took place at the Teatro Martín i Soler of the Palau de les Arts and was attended by local government officials and dignitaries and Berklee’s Valencia campus leadership team including Brian Cole, dean of Berklee's Valencia campus, and María Martínez Iturriaga, associate dean.
The ceremony, led by Guillermo Cisneros, Berklee vice president for global initiatives, featured Berklee students and Victor Mendoza, contemporary performance program director, performing in honor of Domingo. The performance also featured a collaboration with students from the Placido Domingo Advanced Center, also housed at the Palau de les Arts.
"I am extremely proud of this recognition, especially coming from an institution dedicated not only to music but to education, both pillars of my career and legacy,” said Domingo. “In addition, it is a great pleasure to have a connection between Boston and Valencia since both have been so important in my career.” Domingo sang Handel’s Messiah with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of his career, and performed his first Bohéme at the Palau de les Arts.
The degree was awarded by Larry Simpson, Berklee provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, in recognition of Domingo's achievements in music and for his enduring contributions to international culture. "Plácido Domingo is without a doubt an opera living legend,” said Simpson. “His unique instrument, profound knowledge, understanding of the art of music, and unparalleled expressivity, transcend space and time. Because of this and the impact he has in the community on a global level, it is an honor for us to bestow this title.”
Domingo, a native of Madrid, is a world-renowned, multifaceted artist, recognized not only as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera, but also as a respected orchestral conductor. As General Director of the Los Angeles Opera, he is a major force as an opera administrator as well. Domingo turned 73 in January of 2014. His gifts and energy remain undiminished and he continues to perform around the world.
Domingo joins such esteemed Berklee honorary doctorate recipients as Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Chucho Valdes, Juan Luis Guerra, Paco de Lucia, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Sting, Gloria Estefan, and Willie Nelson.