Press Release

University of Minnesota School of Music confers Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree on Philip Brunelle at Fall Convocation

Minneapolis, MN (October 6, 2011) — The University of
Minnesota School of Music will confer an honorary degree on internationally renowned conductor and VocalEssence Artistic
Director Philip Brunelle today at the U of M School
of Music’s Fall Convocation at Ted Mann Concert Hall. The Doctor of Humane
Letters is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota Board of
Regents, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in
their field.

The
School of Music Fall Convocation will also feature keynote speaker Helena Gaunt
(London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama) on “Becoming a Musician in the 21st Century.” The School of Music Fall
Convocation is free and open to the public.

On
Brunelle’s honorary degree, School of Music Director David Myers says, “Ever
since leaving the University of Minnesota School of Music just a few credits
shy of his bachelor’s degree and serving as the youngest member of the
Minnesota Orchestra at age 19, Philip has been advancing the art of music
performance and assuring access to rich and varied musical opportunities for
thousands of people locally, nationally, and internationally. The time has come
for the university and music school Philip chose to attend as a young man – the
University of Minnesota – to recognize and affirm officially his outstanding
lifetime artistic and leadership achievements.”

Myers
continues, “It was at the School of Music that his career took root when he
studied opera history with Professor Dominick Argento, with whom he maintains
his professional relationship, and organ with Professor Arthur Jennings. He has
been an advocate for the work of Minnesota graduates, such as Libby Larsen and
Stephen Paulus, as well as other living composers around the world. He is
repeatedly invited to university functions having served as an adjunct faculty
member in the areas of choral, accompanying and brass choir, is a stalwart advocate
for the University of Minnesota and its School of Music, and has been asked for
his consultation and advice on an arts profile for the university at-large.
This award will not simply add to his already lengthy list of distinctions; it
shows convincingly that his alma mater honors and celebrates his life of
service to a greater good through excellence in the art of music.”

Philip Brunelle shares, “I am thrilled to be
recognized by the University of Minnesota School of Music with an honorary
degree. My years at the University which coincided with my years in the
Minnesota Orchestra were formative ones for me, allowing me the opportunity to
study with some “University greats” – Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler, Mary
Malcolm, Robert Laudon, Paul Knowles and Paul Freed. I was granted many
wonderful opportunities to excel and am grateful for all that the University of
Minnesota offered me. It has been my good fortune since that time to serve the
School of Music when asked as an adjunct faculty member, conductor, and tenure
committee member. Thank you to David Myers and all who made awarding of this
Doctor of Humane Letters a reality.”

Philip Brunelle is also the recipient of honorary Ph.D.s from St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. John’s University and United Theological Seminary, as well as numerous national and international awards recognizing his commitment to choral music.

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