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Lead Sheet

Stories Past, Present, and Future

As you may already have noticed, Berklee today has gotten a new look to mark the publication's 20th anniversary. The articles in this issue touch the past, present, and future. An introductory lesson on the Schillinger System of composition by Philip DiTullio '89 explores the origins of Berklee 64 years ago (see pages 24-25). College founder Lawrence Berk was trained by music theorist Joseph Schillinger and called his nascent educational endeavor the Schillinger House. (He later named it Berklee College of Music.)

Our cover story on Kevin Eubanks '79 represents the present. Appearing for 17 years, five nights a week before an audience of millions on NBC's Tonight Night show with Jay Leno gives Eubanks the distinction of being Berklee's most visible alumnus presently.

The story on page 21 highlights the ideas of Gerd Leonhard '87, who is widely known as a media futurist, author, and keynote speaker. In this article, he presents ideas for those seeking a future in music and methods for developing careers in the digital era.

Since BT's debut in the summer of 1989, this is the publication's 63rd issue. Establishing the magazine was an effort championed by President Emeritus Lee Eliot Berk, who wanted to create a forum for music and musicians that would tell the stories of the college's alumni and offer articles on matters of importance to professional musicians. BT subscribers now number nearly 50,000, and many others outside the community read it via pass along-copies and the Web.

Over the past two decades, 61 extraordinary alumni have graced the cover. We've spotlighted the lives of producers and arrangers Arif Mardin, Quincy Jones, and Rob Mounsey; L.A. session players Abraham Laboriel, John "J.R." Robinson, Michael Thompson, and Neil Stubenhaus; jazz musicians Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, Gary Burton, Antonio Sanchez, and Tierney Sutton; guitar trendsetters Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Lionel Loueke; film and TV composers Howard Shore, Alf Clausen, and Alan Silvestri; songwriters Tom Snow, Bruce Cockburn, John Mayer, Aimee Mann, Paula Cole, Bruce Hornsby, and Juan Luis Guerra; rockers Aerosmith, Dream Theater, and Train. A formidable group.

Since taking the reins from BT's founding editor, Andrew Taylor, who led from 1989 to 1992, I've thoroughly enjoyed producing 54 editions of the magazine. It has been a great honor to converse with so many who are giants in their fields. I'm not just talking about those who've been on the cover, but also the large number of alumni whose contributions have been detailed in these pages.

When I was a Berklee student in the 1970s, my peers and I had a limited view of the professional options for musicians. Aside from performing, writing, recording, or teaching music, we imagined few other areas of promise for a viable music-related career. Since then, options for those with music skills have mushroomed, and numerous stories about lesser-known opportunities have been presented here.

In producing the magazine, I've been amazed to learn of Berklee alumni who have applied their music skills in so many creative and satisfying ways. I know that you, the readers, are aware of how much there is to learn from our fellow alumni whether their story is a major feature or a blurb in the Alum Notes section. As a group, the members of the Berklee community possess tremendous entrepreneurial talent, infectious enthusiasm, and boundless energy for their work. With many gifted young alumni thriving in every quarter of the music industry, the well for future features is indeed quite deep. It's my continuing privilege to share these stories with you.