Ensemble Faculty

Darren Barrett

Associate Professor, Ensemble
dbarrett@berklee.edu | 617 747-6075

"My time [as a student] at Berklee was extremely nurturing. The atmosphere was so inspiring, everyone working so hard to really be able to play at the highest level possible. Antonio Hart and I were roommates for a period, and did a lot of playing together, and grew together. In 1988, my curiosity was piqued by electronic music, programming, and synthesis. I dedicated time learning how to program drum machines and synthesizers, and started learning how to produce popular music."

Kevin Barry

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
kbarry@berklee.edu | 617 747-8471

"I teach a contemporary styles ensembles. Over the course of the semester, we play everything from modern pop to straight-ahead jazz and everything in between. In ensemble playing, you need to be generous musically. You need to listen to the other people. You have to play like a team. If you're not playing as much for the other people in the group as for yourself, that's a problem. You have to have musical humility, to think about the song first. The song is the focus, not the guitar solo."

Walter Beasley

Professor, Ensemble
wbeasley@berklee.edu | 617 747-8111

"I think students come to Berklee for many of the same reasons. They find role models they can identify with. Our job is to provide the fundamental training for young musicians to succeed in the world they live in."

Lin Biviano

Associate Professor, Ensemble
lbiviano@berklee.edu | 617 747-8270

"The Urban Outreach Ensemble—cosponsored by the Community Affairs Office and the Ensemble Department—is a very rewarding part of my teaching at Berklee. It's an educational jazz orchestra that I've led for the past 12 years. Its primary purpose is to travel and present live jazz to inner city schools. We've played several times at Symphony Hall and other venues. Many of the students who have heard us end up joining Berklee's summer program and even getting four-year scholarships to study at Berklee."

Fernando Brandao

Associate Professor, Ensemble
fbrandao@berklee.edu | 617 747-8379

"The most important thing I want for my students is musicality in playing whatever they want to play: expression with rhythm, with pulse, and with movement. To make a beautiful sound, it doesn't need to be one kind of sound, but it does need to be expressive. I also want them to be aware of the culture, to be aware of what they're playing, and feel confidence in it. I try to make students aware—without being self-conscious—of how their body works with the instrument when they're performing."

Consuelo Candelaria-Barry

Associate Professor, Ensemble

"Music lifts me up. It is emotionally based. It helps people be healthy in their emotional well-being. As a player, it's how I express everything that I'm feeling. It is the voice that I speak from. I know how to create textures and colors with it."

Jerry Cecco

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
jcecco@berklee.edu | 617 747-8138

"I constantly tell students to improve their reading skills because that’s a big thing in the music business. A lot of my performances are reading music. I do others, too, where I don’t read, where I play memorized stuff, but the big things I do are reading. And I just try to encourage the students."

Dennis Cecere

Professor, Ensemble
dcecere@berklee.edu | 617 747-8139

"I teach the ensemble that plays for the Song Demo Production class. Their goal for the semester is to sound like a band that's played together their whole life, from the first note to the last, the first time through. I don't allow them to see any of the music until they walk into the studio. I set it up like this: If you're going to become a studio musician, this is how it's going to happen, and this is how you're going to have to deal with it."

Rebecca Cline

Associate Professor, Ensemble
rcline@berklee.edu | 617 747-2993

"I teach a broad mix of classes in both the Ensemble Department, which includes the Performance Studies curriculum, and the Piano Department. I teach Intro to Latin Jazz, Rhythm Section Ensemble, Standard Jazz Repertoire 1, Jazz Improvisation Techniques 1, and Basic Keyboards 1. I also have several piano students for Private Instruction. I like to provide a context for any subject that I teach. I teach two labs (Afro-Cuban Piano Montunos and Improv in Cuban Piano), which are ostensibly for developing skills for playing in this style. I give a lot of practical information and transcriptions, but I also talk as much as I can about the historical and cultural context of the music."

Mark Copeland

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
mcopeland@berklee.edu | 617 747-6265

"Ensembles are all about relationships. At the beginning of the semester, we sit down together and I ask everyone to tell me about themselves: Where they come from, what they like personally and musically. In order to play with your peers, you have to know something about them. It brings cohesiveness to the class."

Hal Crook

Professor, Ensemble
hcrook@berklee.edu | 617 747-8150

"Good ensemble playing requires the ability to hear not only your own playing, but all the playing that is happening around you—to hear your musical relationship to the other players acutely, so that it informs and guides your musical actions. The more advanced your playing skills are, the more capable you will be of dividing your listening attention between yourself and the band."

Jetro Da Silva

Professor, Ensemble
jdasilva@berklee.edu | 617 747-2929

"A professional musician must approach gigs in a businesslike way. The thing is not only to get the call, but to get the call back. As a sideman, I am there to follow instructions from the music director and satisfy the artist. If I am the music director, my job is to make the artist comfortable and ensure that my team supports the artist musically and emotionally. I'm not there to jam. I do my job well, regardless of whether I am playing the easiest or the hardest piece of music. A true professional musician has the ability to play a triad, minor seven flat five chord, or even a sus sharp eleven with the same intensity."

Brian "Raydar" Ellis

Instructor, Ensemble
bellis1@berklee.edu | 617 747-2845

"My whole goal with Hip-Hop Ensemble is to blur the line. Right now, the perception of hip-hop is a standoff. It really comes down to a debate over what a musician is. Some people think pushing buttons isn't being a musician, it's production. But there's validity in the music I'm making. I'll have students playing samples live, like an instrument, as if they were playing a piano. For me, a rapper with a DJ is not any different from someone singing and someone else playing a guitar. It's voice and an instrument."

Paul Elmen

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
pelmen@berklee.edu | 617 747-8166

"Some students have never played in a band before, and that can be difficult. That's why I always use a recording of the songs that we're playing, to give them an idea of what it is to play together if they haven't done that in the past. You listen to how it all works together. We listen to the drums, we listen to the bass, we listen to the accompanying instruments. That helps them get towards that goal of playing together. And sometimes it'll take a few weeks before it starts sounding musical. I always tell them, our goal is for a concert at the end of the semester. We're working towards that—it's a little carrot out there for them, so that they have something to really think about achieving."

Robert Gallegos

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
rgallegos@berklee.edu | 617 747-6150
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Trumpeter
  • Freelance musician
  • Performances with Ray Charles, the Four Tops, the Temptations, the O'Jays, the Sam Rivers Orchestra, Mariachi Cobre with the Jacksonville Symphony, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Barretto, the Eguie Castrillo Latin Big Band, the Kenny Hadley Big Band, the Boston Pops, the U.S. Air Force Liberty Band, and others
  • Recordings with the Eguie Castrillo Latin Big Band

Chantel Hampton

Instructor, Ensemble
lhampton@berklee.edu | 617 747-3036

"As soon as I became a true student of music, I began to teach. I grew up in a family of musicians so it was somewhat inevitable that I would follow in their footsteps, regardless of how many times I said I was going to be an entertainment attorney! At the age of 14, I knew in my heart that life as a musician was the course for me. I asked my father to be my coach, and that's when my intense training began. Hard work, patience, faith, persistence, and pass-it-on are a few of the many character traits instilled into me as a young musician and that I try to practice to this day."

Herman Hampston

Associate Professor, Ensemble
hhampton@berklee.edu | 617 747-8237

"I've learned so much since I finished school and college. Though they both supplied the tools of learning, the real teacher was life itself. That shapes how I teach my ensembles at Berklee."

Alonzo Harris

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
aharris2@berklee.edu | 617 747-6026

"I'm there to help my students become what they want to be, whatever that is. I think it's our job as teachers to try to provide options as much as we can, because you don't know what's out there. You like to sing, but don't really like to perform? Well, you could be a session singer. You like to write songs? You don't have to sing your own songs; you can write songs for other people and get a publishing deal. There are all kinds of things you can do to be a successful musician."

David Hollender

Professor, Ensemble
dhollender@berklee.edu | 617 747-8230

"I've always appreciated the fact that Berklee accepts students with high potential and the right attitude, not just who's the hottest player. Five-string banjo was my first instrument, but when I decided to apply to Berklee as a student they didn't teach it, so I had to play another instrument. I had recently started playing bass, and it felt like going back to square one as a player, but I was motivated and determined. My teachers recognized that and helped me to make fast progress. Now, as a teacher I enjoy working with students who share those qualities."

Neal Itzler

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
nitzler@berklee.edu | 617 747-8575

"When I hear someone play, or when I play with someone, what’s important to me is how they interact and how they listen to the music. Good music always has that element."

 

Mark Kohler

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
mkohler@berklee.edu | 617 747-3038

"I build my classes on a foundation of mutual trust and respect, a space where fear is kept at bay and every student is expected to work hard, take chances, and make mistakes and then grow from them—but most importantly, to explore and discover, or rediscover, for themselves that unique voice. Because it takes high standards, discipline, and hard work to have a successful music career, these elements are integral to all of my classes. Watching students grow in this discover-trust-develop continuum is a constant wellspring of inspiration for me. Being a catalyst in the process is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching."

Bob Lada

Associate Professor, Ensemble
blada@berklee.edu | 617 747-3131

"I've been teaching the Alexander Technique for the last 20 years. The Alexander Technique concerns itself with how you do what you do. We try to have you move as easily and freely as possible while making your music. We call that difference 'use': how you use yourself as an instrument. My belief is that the more you perform in a healthy manner, the better your sound will be. I've certainly seen it demonstrated."

Joe Lovano

Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance, Ensemble
jlovano@berklee.edu | 617 747-2808

"Every time I play, I want to have a joyous feeling when I embrace my horn. Because jazz, to me, is your personal expression on your instrument. Every time you play is a summation of where you've traveled as a player, and that comes out in your music. It's not how fast you can play this lick, or this pattern. It's developing an approach that lets you be free on your instrument to execute your personality within whatever kind of music it is."

Winston Maccow

Associate Professor, Ensemble
wmaccow@berklee.edu | 617 747-8120

"What I try to get out my class is leaders. Everyone’s supposed to lead, everyone. I put people on the spot just to see how they’re paying attention to things. I’ll say, 'Okay, next week, I want you to lead.' Or I don’t even say that. I just say, 'You’re going to lead today.' In my class, you’re always on your toes. It’s the only way to develop leadership. You’ve got to be on your toes in the real world."

Ron Mahdi

Associate Professor, Ensemble
rmahdi@berklee.edu | 617 747-8267

"A great ensemble player comes from different angles. You have several options of doing things so you don’t get bored and so others don’t get bored with your response to what’s coming at you. It’s like saying the same thing over and over when you’re having a conversation."

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