On May 17 as part of the 138th commencement exercises of the New England Conservatory, NEC President Tony Woodcock will present an honorary doctorate to retired faculty member and microtonal composer Joseph Maneri.
As a member of the NEC faculty from 1970 to 2007, Maneri bridged the classical and improvisation curricula by teaching theory and composition as well as jazz, while also giving studio lessons. Maneri co-founded NEC’s “Enchanted Circle” contemporary music concert series in 1977, and co-directed it through 1997. Co-inventor of a microtonal keyboard that has 588 notes with 72 notes per octave, he is founder and president of the Boston Microtonal Society and is co-author of Preliminary Studies in the Virtual Pitch Continuum. A bandleader and solo artist on various instruments, primarily reeds, his repertoire includes jazz and ethnic music as well as his own microtonal compositions. Maneri’s recordings have appeared on Leo Lab, ECM, HatArt, and Tzadik. (—Condensed from the press release)