Elvis Costello reflects on his varied career

Tony Woodcock looks on as Hankus Netsky puts a robe on Elvis Costello during his honorary degree ceremony.
Tony Woodcock looks on as Hankus Netsky puts a robe on Elvis Costello during his honorary degree ceremony.Andrew Hurlbut

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He’s been a singer, a songwriter, a talk-show host, an actor, and now Elvis Costello can add doctor to the list.

Last month the revered Rock and Roll Hall of Famer received an honorary of Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory, bestowed by NEC president Tony Woodcock, who said of Costello “He reminds us that as musicians, as people we need to challenge ourselves to see beyond the boundaries imposed by the way things are.”

The degree may be new but Costello, who plays a sold-out show at the Wilbur Theatre Sunday, has been rising to that challenge and writing healing prescriptions in the form of songs, in a variety of genres, for nearly 40 years.

We chatted with him about his disparate career.

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