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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Herbie Hancock

Legendary Jazz Pianist and Composer

Herbie Hancock

Now in the sixth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: at the forefront of world culture, technology, business, and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet that pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz, he also developed new approaches in his own recordings, followed by his work in the 1970s—with record-breaking albums such as Head Hunters—that combined electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music.

Hancock received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and 14 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters, and two 2011 Grammy Awards for the globally collaborative CD, The Imagine Project.

Hancock serves as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.  He is a founder of the International Committee of Artists for Peace, and was recently given the “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. In 2011 Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and in December of 2013, he received a Kennedy Center Honor. In 2014 he was named the 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. His memoirs, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, were published by Viking in 2014, and in February 2016 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Herbie Hancock