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Boston Conservatory to Honor Barbara Cook & Mary Rodgers

A Distinguished Alumni Award to be Presented to Clay Taliaferro

BOSTON---The Boston Conservatory will honor singer and actress Barbara Cook, as well as composer and screenwriter Mary Rodgers at its 142nd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 2:30 pm at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. There will be 179 degrees awarded, including 94 Bachelors, 79 Masters, and 6 Graduate Performance Diplomas. In addition The Boston Conservatory will present its Distinguished Alumni Award to G. Clayton “Clay” Taliaferro (B.F.A. ’64 dance).

Barbara Cook will receive an honorary degree in recognition of her illustrious career, spanning more than 50 years. Her silvery soprano, purity of tone, and warm presence have delighted audiences around the world. Considered "Broadway's favorite ingénue" during the heyday of the Broadway musical, Cook later launched a second career as a concert and cabaret artist soaring from one professional peak to another. Whether on the stages of major international venues throughout the world or in the intimate setting of New York's Café Carlyle Barbara Cook's popularity continues to thrive - as evidenced by her 1997 birthday concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall in London, a succession of triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall where she made a legendary solo concert debut in 1975 , and an ever-growing mantle of honors including the Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, her citation as a Living New York Landmark and her induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Mary Rodgers will also receive an honorary degree, in recognition of her 50 year career as a composer, screenwriter and author. Her Broadway career began as composer of the 1959 musical Once Upon a Mattress, of which more than 400 productions are presented annually. A 1997 Broadway production earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical Revival. Rodgers has been a popular author of young people’s fiction since 1972, when she wrote Freaky Friday, which has been made into popular movies several times. Additional theatre composing credits include Hot Spot, The Mad Show, Working and The Griffin and the Minor Canon. Television credits include Once Upon a Mattress, Three to Make Music, Feathertop and Marlo Thomas' Free to Be...You and Me. The daughter of composer Richard Rodgers and Dorothy Rodgers, she collaborated with her mother on several projects, including: the 1970 book A Word to the Wives. Currently Rodgers is Chairman Emeritus and serves on the Board of the Juilliard School. She serves on the boards of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and the Dramatists Guild Council.

The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to G. Clayton “Clay” Taliaferro (B.F.A. ’64 dance). He has had an extensive involvement with American dance, earning an international reputation as an award-winning performer, teacher and choreographer. He was a principal dancer with the José Limón Dance Company, and served as assistant artistic director. He co-founded/directed and performed with the Theatre Dance Trio, a company founded for the express purpose of bringing together three mature dance artists from different backgrounds, to work in consort across boundaries of modern dance styles and philosophies.

About The Boston Conservatory
The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance, theater and music education, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit

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