A Brief History
Lawrence Berk at the blackboard with students.
1945 Founded by Lawrence Berk, Schillinger House is the first U.S. school to teach the popular music of the time, jazz.
1954 Changes its name to Berklee School of Music.
1960s Recognizes guitar as a principal instrument, and rock music hits campus.
1966 Graduates its first fully accredited baccalaureate degree class.
1970 Changes name to Berklee College of Music.
Duke Ellington plays at a commencement reception.
1971 Duke Ellington receives the college's first honorary doctorate.
John Williams (pointing at TV) discusses his score for Jaws.
1979 Lee Eliot Berk becomes the college's second president. Establishes the world's first undergraduate degree program in film scoring.
1984 Launches the world's first college-level major in music synthesis.
Ricky Skaggs talks to a student.
1987 Begins offering the world's first college-level songwriting major. Students spend several days in Nashville, attending clinics, concerts, and jam sessions, giving birth to an annual pilgrimage to Music City.
Curtis Warner leads a theory class.
1991 City Music, Berklee's program to make music education available to underserved youths, is launched.
1993 Establishes hand percussion as a principal instrument. Founds Berklee International Network to support contemporary music education globally.
1994 Opens Berklee Center in Los Angeles to build strategic relationships for the college throughout the music industry.
1995 Launches student-run Heavy Rotation Records to promote student rock, pop, and hip-hop talent.
1996 Establishes music therapy major.
Grandmaster Flash teaches a clinic.
1999 Incorporates hip-hop into the curriculum.
2002 Launches Berkleemusic.com, an online music school.
2003 Students found the college's second label, Jazz Revelation Records.
2004 Roger H. Brown is named the college's third president.
2005 Music business/management becomes the most populated of the college's 12 majors.
2006 Increases presence of bluegrass on campus as mandolin and banjo become principal instruments.
Student Mario Guthrie records his show on the BIRN.
2007 The Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN) hits the digital airwaves.
2008 Opens Cafe 939, a student-run, 200-seat, live-music venue and coffeehouse.
2009 Adds three new video game scoring classes as part of new video game curriculum.
2010 Allows students to minor in a program of study.
2011 Opens first international campus in Valencia, Spain.