Tag: Harvard University (page 1 of 4)

Harvard Honors Jessye Norman

For this post we would like to celebrate honors received by Jessye Norman, who passed away in September 2019, starting with the honorary doctorate she received from Harvard in June, 1988. This was one of many honorary doctorates she received during her lifetime. At this time in Harvard-Radcliffe history, Radcliffe College was still awarding degrees to female students, as it was the female coordinate institution for the all-male Harvard College. Although an agreement was signed to combine admissions offices in 1977, a full absorption of Radcliffe College into Harvard University did not happen until 1999.

This photograph of Jessye Norman was taken during the convocation events.

Jessye Norman looking at the camera during convocation

Standing in the center of the following photograph is Oscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica, the recipient of the other honorary doctorate given that year.

Eight people psing for picture, including Jessye Norman

In 1997, Norman received the Radcliffe Medal, given annually to individuals whose lives and work have had a transformative impact on society. It was given to Norman at the Radcliffe Annual Alumnae Association Luncheon. An audiocassette of the luncheon is available by appointment only in the Schlesinger Library. Also bestowed the honor was musician Lena Horne, a recipient in 1987.  

Harvard wasn’t finished giving Norman awards. In 2016, she was awarded the W.E.B Dubois Medal honoring those who have made significant contributions to African and African American History and Culture. The award was presented at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony at Harvard University, available on YouTube. As part of the ceremony, Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music at Harvard, read a passage about the power and necessity of music, from W.E.B. Du Bois “The Sorrow Songs” from his seminal work The Souls of Black Folk. Lana MC Lyte’ Moorer, an acclaimed female hip-hop musician, was also presented the award in the same year for her contribution to music.

These photos, along with photos of the luncheon, are held at the Radcliffe College Archives at the Schlesinger Library and are available upon request. Photographs used with permission from the Schlesinger Library.

Radcliffe Medal Recipients

Harvard Honorary Degree Recipients

W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Recipients

Happy 125th Birthday, Lili Boulanger!

In celebration of Lili Boulanger’s 125th birthday on August 21st we are sharing an arrangement of her work Cortège held in the Merritt Room of the Isham Memorial Library. Lili wrote this piece for piano while at the Villa Medici in Rome as the first female winner of the Prix de Rome in June of 1914. It was published for violin or flute and piano in 1919 by Ricordi with a dedication to violinist Yvonne Astruc. The manuscript is held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (BN Ms.19439 and Ms.19440), along with a transcription in Nadia’s Boulanger’s hand.

The arrangement was by Nadia, her sister, for solo violin and 18 other musicians: flute, harp, celesta, triangle, violin I (5), violin II (3), viola (2), cello (2), contrabass (2).

Manuscript, page one of Cortege.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

While some of the writing was determined to be by Nadia Boulanger, a portion was also completed by a copyist. Notice the variations in handwriting on these instrumental parts.

Example of handwriting, 1st violin part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

Example of handwriting, contrabass part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

Example of handwriting, 2nd violin part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

While the date is unknown, visit our catalog record for more information.

Additional information about Cortège and Lili and Nadia’s works and relationship can be found in:

Potter, Caroline. Nadia and Lili Boulanger. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006.

 

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