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Ray Jackendoff - Doctor Honoris Causa of UNMB

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 , ora 10.55

The National University of Music in Bucharest has awarded on Monday, October 17th, 2011, a new Doctor Honoris Causa title. Succeeding the three honorific titles received by Alfred Brendel, Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta within the September 'Enescu' Festival, the high distinction has now been granted to American professor, Ray Jackendoff. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ray Jackendoff has asserted himself on an international scale as a multilateral personality: scientist and artist, philosopher and musician. Together with composer Fred Lerdahl, he is coauthor of the highly praised volume titled 'A Generative Theory of Tonal Music'. Along with his contributions in areas such as linguistics, semiology and musicology, Ray Jackendoff has also dedicated himself to musical interpretation, having been along the line a clarinetist in bands such as the famous Boston Pops. The scholar has been Doctor Honoris Causa of the Quebec University in Montreal since 2000 and on Wednesday, October 19th, he will receive the same distinction from the 'Gheorghe Dima' Music Academy of Cluj-Napoca, where he is also to hold a recital, accompanied on piano by Valentina Sandu-Dediu.

What the importance of such title awarded by the National University of Music in Bucharest is to him, we are to find out from the very statement of Ray Jackendoff:

'It is a great honour to me. It's a very close bond I have with Valentina Sandu-Dediu and Dan Dediu, who have been my friends for more than ten years. The chance to come here is a remarkable one and it means a lot to me to be honoured not only as a scientist, but as a musician as well, because music has always been close to my heart, yet it has never actually been my job. To have the acknowledgement of a Music University is, to me, a very special accomplishment.

The awarding of the Doctor Honoris Causa title to scholar Ray Jackendoff has also been a great moment for the Music University of Bucharest. Here's what Univ. Prof. Dr. Dan Dediu, rector of the institution, has declared for us:

'It is a special opportunity for the National University of Music in Bucharest to award the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to a musical language area researcher, who has come to Romania for the second time; on such occasion, our University, as well as the 'Gheorghe Dima' Music Academy in Cluj, present him with this honorific title. It is meant to be, at the same time, an acknowledgment of his prodigious scientific activity, which has had an international impact. The 'Generative Theory of Tonal Music' tome, elaborated by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff has achieved by now global recognition, thus becoming one of the area's standards, from which further stepping and digging can be pursued.

As a matter of fact, as Mr. Ray Jackendoff has mentioned in his opening speech, this theory does leave certain elements open to scientific research, which is something that comes to rejoice and convince us once more of the greatness of spirit he has demonstrated, not only in his scientific work, but also in his clarinet interpretations of the Romanian music repertory'.

Andreea Chiselev
Translated by Alina Popa and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University