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Al Schmitt Is Awarded Berklee Honorary Doctorate

Al Schmitt gives his acceptance speech on September 10, 2004 as Berklee President Roger H. Brown looks on.

Photo: Ron Batzdorff

On September 10, producer and engineer Al Schmitt was presented with a Berklee honorary doctor of music degree by the college’s president Roger H. Brown at a ceremony at Capitol Records’ famed Studio A in Los Angeles. The event also commemorated the 25th anniversary of Berklee Today, the college’s alumni magazine.

The degree was awarded in recognition of Schmitt’s musical achievements, which include 22 Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards, and a Grammy Trustees Lifetime Achievement. Schmitt has worked on 160 Gold and Platinum selling albums by artists including Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Norah Jones, Chick Corea, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, and many others.

From left: Carl Beatty, Berklee Assistant Vice President of Artist and Music Industry Relations; Producer/Engineer Elliot Scheiner; Honoree Al Schmitt; Berklee President Roger H. Brown.

Photo: Ron Batzdorff

“I’m still in awe about this. My family knows how important this honor is to me,” Schmitt Schmitt in his acceptance remarks. “I never got to go to college. I am blessed to have been able to work with so many great artists and on so many great projects. It means a lot to me to get this honor from the greatest music school on the planet, and I thank you.”

“Over the course of a spectacular and lengthy career, Al Schmitt has worked with some of the greatest musical icons from the 1950s to the present as an engineer, producer, and label executive,” said President Brown. “A number of classic albums such as George Benson’s Breezin’, Steely Dan’s Aja, Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable, or Diana Krall’s When I Look in Your Eyes, would not have been the same without Al’s incredible ears and musical sensibilities.”

In a Berklee honorary doctor of music degree, Schmitt joins the ranks of such esteemed recipients as Duke Ellington (who was the first to receive a Berklee honorary doctorate degree, in 1971), Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Page, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, Sting, Juan Luis Guerra, David Bowie, George Martin, Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton, Patti LaBelle, and Carole King.

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Find information about the Berklee Today publication at

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