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Boston Conservatory to Honor Tommy Tune & Diane Paulus

A Distinguished Alumni Award to Be Presented to Lily Afshar

(BOSTON—April 29, 2011) The Boston Conservatory will honor director, choreographer and performer Tommy Tune, as well as director Diane Paulus, at its 143rd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m. at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston. There will be 198 degrees awarded, including 119 Bachelors, 58 Masters, 18 Graduate Performance Diplomas and three Professional Studies Certificates. In addition The Boston Conservatory will present its Distinguished Alumni Award to Lily Afshar (BM, Guitar, ’81).

Known as one of the most prolific theater artists of the 20th century, Tommy Tune has enchanted audiences for the past 50 years with his charisma, vision and innovation. He has won nine Tony Awards for Broadway favorites such as My One and Only, Grand Hotel, The Will Rodgers Follies, Nine and Seesaw. His film credits include Hello Dolly,The Boyfriend, Mimi Bluette, Fiore Del Mio Giardino and Hollywood Blvd. He has been honored with a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout his career he has toured extensively in productions of Irma La Douce, Seesaw, Tommy Tune Tonight,My One and Only, Bye, Bye, Birdie and his act with The Manhattan Rhythm Kings. Tune was recipient of the The National Medal of Arts, the Country's highest honor for artistic achievement.  In October 2010, The Boston Conservatory paid homage to Tune’s 50 years in show business by presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the grand opening of the new theater building.

Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. Recent theater work includes the Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR on Broadway and London; Kiss Me Kate at Glimmerglass Opera; Lost Highway, based on the David Lynch film, an ENO coproduction with the Young Vic in London; Another Country by James Baldwin at Riverside Church; Turandot: Rumble for the Ring at the Bay Street Theatre;The Golden Mickey’s for Disney Creative Entertainment; Best of Both Worlds, a gospel/R&B adaptation of A Winter’s Tale produced by Music-Theatre Group and The Women’s Project; and The Karaoke Show, an adaptation of “Comedy of Errors” set in a karaoke bar, produced by Jordan Roth Productions.   Also for Music-Theatre Group, she directed the Obie award-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist Running Man by jazz composer Diedre Murray and poet Cornelius Eady; and Swimming with Watermelons, created in association with Project 400, the theater company she co-founded with her husband Randy Weiner. She is the creator and director of The Donkey Show, which ran for six years Off-Broadway, toured internationally to London, Edinburgh, Madrid, and Evian, France, and is currently at the A.R.T. Opera credits include Il mondo della luna at the Hayden Planetarium in New York; Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Turn Of The Screw, Cosi fan tutte and the Monteverdi trilogy Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria,L’incoronazione di Poppea and Orfeo at the Chicago Opera Theater.

The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Lily Afshar. Her solo, chamber and concerto appearances combined with her adventurous recordings have earned her the status of “one of the world’s foremost classical guitarists” according to Public Radio International. The Washington Post described her onstage performances as “remarkable, impeccable.” But perhaps equally as important is her reputation for expanding the contemporary classical guitar repertoire.  Afshar’s collaborations with international composers have resulted in premieres of new works by Carlo Domeniconi, Reza Vali, Garry Eister, Gerard Drozd, Loris Chobanian, Arne Mellnas, Kamran Ince, Barbara Kolb, Marilyn Ziffrin, David Kechley and Salvador Brotons.  Born in Tehran, she was 10 when she began learning the guitar. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degree in guitar performance from The Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music. At Florida State University, she became the first woman in the world to gain a Doctorate of Music in guitar performance. She is currently the head of the University of Memphis guitar program.

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 multidisciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, 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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