May Festival maestro James Conlon will receive an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York on Friday.
The music school has arranged a private jet to fly Conlon, in Cincinnati to direct his 25th May Festival season, to New York tonight.
He'll accept the degree during the Friday morning commencement and be whisked back to Cincinnati in time for the May Festival's opening concert, Handel's Messiah, at 8 p.m. in Music Hall (tickets: 381-3300 or www.mayfestival.com).
"I'm delighted," says the New York native, who learned of the honor in December. "It means a great deal, especially coming from Juilliard, where I studied. It's very touching and moving to be honored in that way, and especially to be asked to give the commencement address. I'll be editing it down to the late minute."
His commencement speech to more than 270 graduating actors, musicians and dancers will highlight "courage, creativity and persistence."
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