Looking Ahead to New England Conservatory’s 153rd Commencement

On Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in NEC’s historic Jordan Hall, more than 200 graduating students will receive their diplomas following remarks from Commencement Speaker Paul Simon, Alumni Speaker Lina Gonzáles-Granados ’14 MM, ’15 GD, and Student Speaker June Chung ’24 MM; honorary degree conferments upon Simon, Dawn Upshaw, and Robert Spano; and performances from a New Orleans-style jazz ensemble, baritone Hyungjin Son ’24 MM and pianist Sujin Choi ’23 GD, ’24 GC, and a CMA folk ensemble.

New England Conservatory will celebrate the graduating class of 2024 at its 153rd Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. ET. in historic Jordan Hall. The ceremony will include remarks by Commencement Speaker Paul Simon, Alumni Speaker Lina Gonzáles-Granados ’14 MM, ’15 GD, and Student Speaker June Chung ’24 MMHonorary doctorates will be conferred upon Simon, along with soprano Dawn Upshaw and conductor Robert SpanoClick here to learn more about this year’s honorary degree recipients.

Paul Simon

“It’s my distinct pleasure to receive this honorary degree from the esteemed New England Conservatory of Music, an institution which empowers and educates musicians for life, and instills in its students a pursuit of excellence,” said Simon, a 16-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and recording artist, member of both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. 

More than 200 graduates from 15 countries will receive diplomas during this year’s ceremony. In doing so, they officially join the ranks of NEC’s esteemed alumni community, which is deeply impacting the world through the power of music. 

"Graduating members of the class of 2024 have demonstrated not only extraordinary musical achievement, but also tremendous potential to positively influence our world. Throughout their journey at NEC, they have demonstrated artistry, creativity, and a spirit of collaboration," said NEC President Andrea Kalyn. "As they cross the Jordan Hall stage to receive their diplomas, we applaud their commitment to excellence and eagerly anticipate the profound impact they will undoubtedly have in the world."

The 2024 Commencement ceremony will begin with a processional led by this year’s alumni marshals: world-renowned pianist Fredericka King ’74 MM and celebrated jazz saxophonist Grant Langford ’99. An ensemble comprising clarinetist Zack Bacak ’24 MM, trumpeter Mark Tipton ’24 DMA, trombonist Aiden Coleman ’25, and drummer Paul July Joseph ’27 will follow King and Langford, guiding graduates into Jordan Hall during a lively performance of New Orleans-style jazz music. Baritone Hyungjin Son ’24 MM and pianist Sujin Choi ’23 GD, ’24 will perform during a musical interludeA Contemporary Musical Arts folk ensemble comprising fiddle players Jacqui Armbruster ’24 MM and Michele Zimmerman ’24 MM and cellist Karl Henry ’24 MM will perform during the ceremony's recessional. 

Lina G

Internationally renowned conductor Lina Gonzáles-Granados ’14 MM, ’15 GD will address graduating students as the 2024 Alumni Speaker. She was recently appointed Resident Conductor by the L.A. Opera, a position she will hold through June 2025. After winning the Fourth Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition, she was named the Solti Conducting Apprentice and served as the assistant to Maestro Riccardo Muti until June 2023. Her achievements also earned her a spot on Bloomberg Línea's list of the 100 Influential Latinos of 2022. She received her Master of Music in Wind Ensemble Conducting in 2014 and a Graduate Diploma in Choral Conducting in 2015. 

"New England Conservatory still feels like a home to me, and I am thrilled to return to give my remarks to the graduating class of 2024,” Gonzáles-Granados said. “You never know which moment will be yours, the moment that will spark a career. NEC makes every alumnus ready for that moment; ready to step into the light and forge the future with music. I cannot wait to congratulate the class of 2024 on their commencement, and on their sure-to-come accomplishments."

June Chung

This year’s Student Speaker is accomplished violinist June Chung ’24 MM, who studied with faculty member Paul Biss while completing her Master of Music. She plans to continue at NEC in pursuit of a graduate diploma starting this fall.

"What a privilege it is to represent our graduating class. I hope that through my words, I can try to honor all our accomplishments, hardships, and failures, but most of all, the community that we've built together,” said Chung. “I will be continuing my studies at NEC through a graduate diploma so that I can take advantage of all that our school has to offer: teachers, staff, high-quality chamber music, and much more, while working on establishing myself and planting my seeds here. While I feel bittersweet to see some of my close friends leave, I know they are pursuing something they feel strongly about, a calling they might have found during their time here, and I'm so excited to see the unique paths that each of us will choose to take."

NEC’s 153rd Commencement is a ticketed event. Students participating in the ceremony must complete this form in order to inquire for guest tickets. The ceremony will also be live-streamed via NEC’s website

Members of the public are invited to attend a celebratory Commencement Concert on May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Jordan Hall, featuring performances from members of the graduating class across departments. Advanced tickets are required.