Faculty

e.g. "Tuba"

Rick Applin

Professor, Composition
rapplin@berklee.edu | 617 747-8103

"Love of music is our common bond in all my classrooms. With the education majors, it's love of teaching as well. In my tonal harmony course for education majors, we role play in our third hour: I become a high school student with the rest of the class, and one of the class members teaches. I show my students that you can maintain a certain degree of informality that is nevertheless infused with a sense of respect for the institution, for the teacher, and for the classroom."

Larry Bell

Associate Professor, Composition
lbell1@berklee.edu | 617 747-6023

Ramon Castillo

Assistant Professor, Composition
rpcastillo@berklee.edu | 617 747-6024

"These courses are really all about learning how to account for everything you write. I think it's important for students to take the strict rules we give them and refine their music in that way during class, so that when they approach the music they want to write outside of class, they're going to have just as much control over it. When I compose music, I don't think about all the rules I was taught in my classes, but with every single note I have some awareness of why I chose that particular pitch and that particular rhythm."

Tiffany Chang

Assistant Professor, Composition
tchang2@berklee.edu | 617 747-6439

"I tell my students not to be afraid to experiment with a project they’re not yet comfortable with. Every skill and concept in music is connected. When you absorb ideas like a sponge, that’s what makes that large web clearer and clearer."

Alla Elana Cohen

Associate Professor, Composition
aecohen@berklee.edu | 617 747-8370

"The main thing in teaching composition is to create an atmosphere in which the natural gifts of the students flourish. That atmosphere depends, I think, upon the ability to enter the world of students' compositions—to let go of your own style when you look at your students' compositions. Whenever any composer, no matter what the age, brings me a composition, as I start to play it, I forget about my own musical world and my own musical style. For that moment, I enter the mind of that person to such an extent as to be able to look at this composition as if it is mine."

Beth Denisch

Professor, Composition
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online
bdenisch@berklee.edu | 617 747-2809

"My job as a faculty member is to teach students new skills and how to access resources that will help them find their own voices. Through exposure to new musics, and through modeling and experimentation, students experience which materials, styles, and techniques resonate within them and they then 'make it their own.' I think Berklee students have more of an opportunity to do that than students of other schools where they may be exposed to less varied styles of music."

Marti Epstein

Professor, Composition
mepstein@berklee.edu | 617 747-8167

"To graduate, students have to have a portfolio of pieces and-very important-they have to have a certain number of these pieces performed. Because one of the aspects of a composer's training is, how do you get people to play your music? So we try to get them to start doing that right away."

Ronny Feldman

Professor, Composition
rfeldman@berklee.edu | 617 747-8591
  • B.F.A., Boston University
  • Conductor and cellist, Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Boston Conservatory Orchestra
  • Member, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra
  • Recipient of two ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming
  • Conductor of performances with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, St. Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Quebec Symphony

Scott Fessler

Professor, Composition
sfessler@berklee.edu | 617 747-8170

"In the composition courses I teach, we're dealing with a body of knowledge that dates back a couple of centuries, so I try to show the connection to more recent compositions. 'Over the Rainbow,' for example, fits into an eighteeth-century European structure almost perfectly. After we analyze it in class, I make the point that it's one of the most commercially successful pieces of songcraft that has ever been created. We start talking about why that's true, and that its elements, in terms of organization and melody, are also true for a Beatles tune or a piece by Bach. Those all have universal elements of construction that are effective and timeless."