Academy Award-winning Composer A.R. Rahman to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Berklee



Boston, MA, July 17, 2014 - World renowned film composer A.R. Rahman, best known for the original scores and songs from the films Slumdog Millionaire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Million Dollar Arm, will receive an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. At a concert celebrating his career on October 24, 2014 at Symphony Hall, students and faculty will perform songs paying tribute to his distinguished work with Rahman performing alongside them for select tracks. In addition to the performance, Rahman will conduct a master class at the Berklee Performance Center. He will also explore the college's new, state-of-the-art film scoring studios where he will interact with students in their learning environment. Rahman will be joined by three alumni instrumental to his career: guitarist and film composer Prasanna '99, who will perform at Symphony Hall, musical director Kevin Doucette '99, and manager Andrew Flad '99. In honor of Rahman's new relationship with Berklee, the college will establish a scholarship in his name to help bring students from India to Berklee. All proceeds from the October 24 concert will go toward the scholarship.

"I'm deeply moved to receive an honorary doctorate from such a distinguished school which has contributed so much to the world of music," said Rahman. "I'm especially proud and honored the college is graciously establishing a scholarship in my name for future generations of musicians to follow their dreams."

"A friend from India described A.R. Rahman to me as John Williams and Sting rolled into one - a leading film composer and a wildly popular, brilliant songwriter and performer," said Berklee president Roger H. Brown. "We welcome him to Berklee where the college and our students look forward to paying our respects."

At the concert and degree conferral on October 24, a 60-piece Berklee student and faculty ensemble will pay tribute to Rahman's two decades-long musical legacy, which not only includes distinguished soundtracks and film scores, but also compositions for the 2012 Olympic Games and collaborations with Mick Jagger, Michael Bolton, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Will.i.am. Hailed by Time magazine as "the world's most prolific and popular composer," the two-time Academy Award-winner, two-time Grammy Award-winner, Golden Globe Award-winner, and BAFTA Award-winner, is being recognized for his achievements and international influence as a film composer and musician. Past honorary doctorate recipients include Jimmy Page, Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, John Williams, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Sting, Howard Shore '69, Clint Eastwood, Alan Silvestri '70, Amar G. Bose, and Gloria Estefan.

Rahman's visit is in conjunction with the Berklee India Exchange, a new endeavor aiming to connect Berklee students of all nationalities with successful players in the flourishing Indian entertainment industry. In 2013, the Berklee India Exchange launched with a residency by famed Bollywood composer and pop music star Clinton Cerejo.

About A.R. Rahman
A two-time Academy Award winning composer, A. R. Rahman has helped redefine contemporary Indian music. He has sold more than 150 million CDs comprising of music from more than 100 film soundtracks and albums across over half a dozen languages, including landmark scores such as Roja, Bombay, Dilse, Taal, Lagaan, Vandemataram and more recently, Jodhaa Akbar, Delhi 6, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Couples Retreat, Million Dollar Arm and the forthcoming Hundred Foot Journey. Rahman has been bestowed with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, two of India's highest national civilian honors, recognizing his contribution to music. In 2009, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Rahman recently announced initiatives to establish a tradition in western classical music in India and embarked on an ambitious venture to set up the KM Music Conservatory and the KM Music Symphony Orchestra based out of Chennai, India. He plans to provide a platform for non-mainstream music through his music label KM Musiq.

About Berklee College of Music:
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than 65 years, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business, leading the way with the world's first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study. Berklee serves distance learners worldwide through its award-winning online extension school, Berklee Online. The college's national after school music program for underserved teens, the Berklee City Music Network, is in 30 cities and counting. A new campus in Spain, Berklee in Valencia, began hosting the college's first graduate programs in the fall of 2012. With a diverse and talented student body representing more than 100 countries, and alumni and faculty that have collectively won more than 305 Grammys and Latin Grammys, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today-and tomorrow.