Faculty

e.g. "Tuba"

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."

Arnold Friedman

afriedman@berklee.edu | 617 747-8185

"I want to open up more possibilities for my students, more doors for their creativity. The first few weeks of counterpoint seems totally the opposite of that. It's very typical to hear complaints about how there are too many rules. But the result of experiencing that kind of discipline while creating music—having to be creative within a very narrow set of parameters—is that later on when you're free to do whatever you want, you still have this very disciplined method to apply to it."

Gregory Fritze

Professor, Composition
Also affiliated with: Brass
gfritze@berklee.edu | 617 747-2452

"Students who get a composition degree learn how to write their music so that other people can perform it. Very often students have ideas and they don't know how to put them down. Sometimes they don't have the experience to connect their ideas. Or in many cases, they have too many topics. Most beginning students do overwrite. We teach the students how to develop an idea completely and how to trim away the excess. And the main thing is that the students do hear their work performed. Most of what they write can be performed right here at the college."

Yakov Gubanov

Professor, Composition
ygubanov@berklee.edu | 617 747-8121

"Because Berklee is a very international institution, about one half of my directed studies students are international ones, and I'm always trying to encourage a student to maintain his national tradition. It's a big temptation when a student comes to the United States to try to develop this kind of international idiom which will sound American. I never push, but if you have this feeling of your own tradition, I suggest, just stay with your own tradition. In my opinion the 21st century will be the time when the national tradition of art will be restored. It seems to me the future of music is in the return of each individual to his or her national roots."

Jonathan Bailey Holland

Associate Professor, Composition
jholland@berklee.edu | 617 747-2865

"I think a lot of times people think about theory as random rules on how notes have to go together. I'm trying to stress that nothing is random, that everything makes sense from point A to point Z, and that everything at point A is the same as everything at point Z, just on a smaller scale. If you look at one phrase of music, everything that happens in that phrase is similar to what happens over the course of the entire piece. And everything that goes into each chord within the phrase is related to the shape of the entire phrase. I think a lot of times, especially in theory classes, you just look at the details endlessly and you lose track of what the whole piece is about. I try to keep a balance as much as possible."

Derek Hurst

Associate Professor, Composition
dhurst@berklee.edu | 617 747-8733

"My experience as a self-taught rock guitarist has undoubtedly influenced my work as a composer. I came to music through popular and rock avenues, and sidled into formal classical studies after seeing a performance of a Bach Lute Suite on guitar. I'd never seen a guitar do that, and my fate was sealed."

Isaiah Jackson

Professor, Composition
ijackson@berklee.edu | 617 747-8841
  • B.A., Harvard University
  • M.S., D.M.A., the Juilliard School
  • President of Rhythm, Rhyme, Results, an educational rap music company
  • CEO and creative director of Belvedere Productions, a music production company specializing in educational materials
  • Guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic; the Cleveland Orchestra; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.); the symphonies of San Francisco, Toronto, Houston, and Dallas; and the Boston Pops

Alexandros Kalogeras

Professor, Composition
akalogeras@berklee.edu | 617 747-8160

"Nobody would have written so much music if they had waited for divine inspiration. It is technique. It is logic. Making music is the same as making spacecraft or a pair of shoes or a washing machine. The same human brain that creates music and art also makes all these diverse things. So in music it's not just about having an inspiration; it's coherence in how to put things together."

Vuk Kulenovic

Professor, Composition
  • M.A., Belgrade Music Academy
  • Former professor of composition and analysis, Belgrade Music Academy
  • Compositions include over 100 works for symphony orchestra, solo instruments, chamber ensembles, choral and vocal pieces, ballet, and scores for film and stage music

Dennis Leclaire

Professor, Composition
dleclaire@berklee.edu | 617 747-8254

"In my Western Music classes, I love to make students aware of music that they've never heard before; they're always surprised when they find out that there's very little new under the sun. When they listen to some of the music from the Middle Ages, they often say, 'Wow—these are the kinds of things we're doing now.'"