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Jan 10, 2014 11:23 AM EST

Herbie Hancock Named 2014 'Professor Of Poetry' At Harvard University


Harvard University has appointed jazz legend Herbie Hancock as the 2014 "Professor of Poetry" at the school, The Guardian reported.

The legendary pianist has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at the Ivy League school and will give six lectures in a series titled "The Ethics of Jazz" in February and March.

"It is a great privilege to welcome Herbie Hancock as the Norton Professor," Homi Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, told The Harvard Gazette. "His unsurpassed contribution to the history of music has revolutionized our understanding of the ways in which the arts transform our civic consciousness and our spiritual aspirations. It would be no exaggeration to say that he has defined cultural innovation in each decade of the last half century."

The lecture series will examines topics including "The Wisdom Of Miles Davis," "Breaking The Rules," "Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom," and "Innovation And New Technologies."

For these lectures, Hancock is expected to draw upon his five decades of experiences as a musician and composer, The Harvard Gazette reported. Hancock told The Guardian his lectures will also cover the practical lessons he has learned about the connection between jazz and the values of Buddhism, a religion he has practiced for most of his career.

Hancock has been an integral part of "every popular music movement since the 1960s." He has helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music.

Established in 1925, the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry has been awarded to important figures from across the arts. Hancock's predecessors include T.S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, and William Kentridge.

Hancock is scheduled to give his first lecture of the series on Feb. 3.

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