Jazz legend wins honorary doctorate

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Chick Corea, the American jazz musician who has cooperated with an orchestra in Trondheim for the past decade, has now also been awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Trondheim-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Jazz legend Chick Corea at the piano. PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

“He’s simply one of the foremost jazz musicians that can be found,” claimed Erling Askdal, leader of the jazz program at NTNU’s music institute. “He has developed his own, clear style and made music that stands as jazz classics.”

Askdal told newspaper Aftenposten that the honorary doctorate degree is meant to highlight the “special connection” Chick Corea has had with NTNU “and our milieu.”

Corea started working with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra during the annual Molde Jazz festival in 2000, when they performed what became known as the “miracle concert.” At that time, all of the musicians in the orchestra were students in NTNU’s program.

The orchestra has since been invited to play with the now 69-year-old Corea both in New York and Tokyo. Corea himself has said he was “blown away” after their first rehearsal 10 years ago, and “really impressed by the high creative quality of everything.”

That first encounter with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra was later documented on the “Live in Molde” album, and Corea has lauded Norwegian arranger, composer and band leader Erlend Skomsvoll. “Erlend made the most creative arrangements of my songs that I’ve heard,” Corea said on his own website. (external link)

They’ve been back together in recent days for a brief concert tour that began in Molde on Wednesday, continued on to Trondheim, Umeå and Stockholm in Sweden over the weekend, and was to end in Oslo on Monday.

Only three of the 32 honorary doctorates awarded by NTNU (external link) to date have gone to performers earlier: Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, Norwegian violinist Arve Tellefsen and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who also has performed often with Trondheim musicians. The majority of NTNU’s other honorary doctorates have gone to persons distinguishing themselves in the areas of technology and science.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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