Columbia University will confer seven honorary degrees at its annual Commencement exercises on May 17, 2017. João Gilberto will receive an honorary doctorate in Music.
Gilberto is a groundbreaking musician known throughout the world as the father of bossa nova. As a young man, Gilberto developed a novel sound, fusing samba, jazz and traditional Brazilian rhythms, carried by skillful guitar technique. After revolutionizing Brazilian music, his sound reached jazz musicians all across the world. His 1964 album with saxophonist Stan Getz, entitled Getz/Gilberto, is one of few jazz albums to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the first album by a non-American to win a Grammy Award. It is widely considered among the greatest music albums of all time and is particularly known for its song "Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl from Ipanema"). Gilberto has performed in festivals and concert halls around the world.