Dr. Steven D. Lavine, President of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) will confer honorary Doctor of Arts degrees to Harry Belafonte, Herbert Blau and Terry Riley--artists who represent the restless innovation and radical creativity nurtured at the Institute and within their areas of expertise, have each made extraordinary contributions to contemporary arts and culture. They will be awarded their degrees at the 2008 commencement ceremony at CalArts on Friday, May 16, 2008 at 6 p.m.
Harry Belafonte is a renowned recording artist and concert singer, actor and producer. He has received numerous awards including an Emmy Award, Kennedy Center Honors, National Medal of Arts and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, Mr. Belafonte was the entertainment industry's first cultural adviser to the Peace Corps and mobilized the entertainment industry's critical contributions to advance the cause of civil rights. In 1987, he was appointed UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
Herbert Blau was CalArts' first provost and played a leading role in shaping its radical educational model. In addition to his visionary work at CalArts, he was co-founder of The Actor's Workshop in San Francisco and co-director of the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center. An influential force in the world of theater, he staged some of the country's first productions of Jean Genet and Harold Pinter plays in addition to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot at San Quentin State Prison in 1957.
Terry Riley launched the Minimalist movement in contemporary music with the revolutionary In C in 1964. The legendary composer changed the course of 20th century music and influenced the work of many other composers including Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams. While teaching at Mills College in Oakland in the 1970s, Mr. Riley met David Harrington, founder and violinist of the Kronos Quartet and has been collaborating with him since that time.
The nation's first art institute to offer BFAs and MFAs in both the visual and performing arts, CalArts is dedicated to training and nurturing the next generation of professional artists, fostering brilliance and innovation within the broadest context possible. Emphasis is placed on new and experimental work, and students are admitted solely on the basis of artistic ability. To encourage innovation and experimentation, CalArts' six schools--Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater--are all housed under one roof in a unique, five-story building with the equivalent of 11 acres of square footage in Valencia, California, just 30 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles.