Herbie Hancock, professor of poetry

Herbie Hancock has been named 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University, with a series of lectures lined up for the spring

Pianist and composer Herbie Hancock has been appointed Harvard’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry, and will deliver six lectures this spring on “The Ethics of Jazz”.

The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship, founded in 1925, aims to interrogate poetry “in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts”. Past post-holders include T.S. Eliot, Leonard Bernstein and John Cage.

A member of the Miles Davis Quintet from 1963, as well as a soloist and prolific composer, Hancock is currently also Creative Chair for Jazz at the LA Philharmonic Association and Institute Chairman at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Homi Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center which is hosting the lectures, says: “It is a great privilege to welcome Herbie Hancock as the Norton Professor. It would be no exaggeration to say that he has defined cultural innovation in each decade of the last half-century.”

Hancock’s lectures will be on “The Wisdom of Miles Davis", “Breaking the Rules”, "Cultural Diplomacy and the Voice of Freedom”, “Innovation and New Technologies”, “Buddhism and Creativity”, and “Once Upon a Time”. They will take place from 3 February to 31 March at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University at 4pm.

Lectures are free but tickets are required and can be purchased on the day.

More details are on the Harvard University website.

Sally Evans-Darby

Photo: Herbie Hancock in London, 1974, by Brian O'Connor

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