The State of the College

“It all starts with attracting the best students in the world—motivated, creative, and talented,” President Roger H. Brown said in opening his December 2012 State of the College address. “Then add great faculty delivering a state-of-the-art curriculum in facilities worthy of the talent of the students. Support these students in securing gigs and careers after Berklee, and a virtuous cycle is created.

Idol Judge in the Classroom

Liz Lupton

Top songwriter, producer, record and publishing executive, and TV personality Kara DioGuardi brought her incomparable songwriting and production experience to Berklee during the fall 2012 semester. DioGuardi developed and taught the course “Hit Songwriting” that paired student songwriters and producers, mirroring today’s music industry practices. DioGuardi handpicked the 27 students who auditioned to take the course.

Encore Gala Breaks Previous Fundraising Records

Beverly Tryon

Once again, Berklee’s 18th annual Encore Gala offered a musical extravaganza that drew more than 900 guests to Boston’s Westin Copley Place Hotel for a good cause. The college’s flagship fundraising event, the Encore Gala raises scholarship funds for the Berklee City Music Program (BCMP). The program provides year-round music education to thousands of middle- and high-school students in Boston and in 37 cities across the country.

A.R. Rahman Concert: Half-Price Tickets Available with Berklee ID

An international cast of students will perform the timeless music of A. R. Rahman, the prolific Grammy-winning and Academy Award-winning composer (Slumdog Millionaire127 Hours) and performer. Rahman will receive an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee and join the Berklee musicians to perform several of his memorable songs.

Faculty Profile: Donna McElroy

Mary Hurley

In a fall 2012 concert, Berklee Professor of Voice Donna McElroy delivered an electrifying rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Her performance brought a capacity audience at the Berklee Performance Center to its feet. The show featured performers inspired by the music of Ray Charles, so it was fitting that the stage belonged to McElroy. Her version of the patriotic anthem has been compared favorably to the one by the great Ray Charles himself.

A New Take on Symphonic Music

Since its debut in 2008, the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra (BCSO) has set out on a course to distinguish itself from other Boston-area orchestras. The ensemble has nearly 100 members and is the first full symphonic group ever assembled at Berklee. Possessing a distinct Berklee twist, the group specializes in programming contemporary works—particularly those by living composers—but juxtaposes them with pieces from the traditional orchestral repertoire.

Berklee Beat

Attitude or Altitude?

Richard Niles

I recently read an article by Bill Anschell of All About Jazz that is ironically titled Careers in Jazz ( It managed the trick of being an unflinching assessment of a sacred cow and very funny. His point is that a career in jazz is a passport to penury. This is not news, but what interested me was his analysis of why “at best, 1 percent” of jazz musicians make a living.

Bob Malone: Road Warrior

Peter Gordon

For an indie artist, the path to lasting success is often long, built on perseverance and a commitment to the music. Exhibit A is Bob Malone ’87.

Throughout his time at Berklee, Malone was constantly gigging, doing solo appearances, piano bars, original bands, and essentially paying for his college education. His career path since then has had a blue-collar organic flavor that is still defined by working hard.

Alumni Profile: Ruslan Sirota '03

Adam Renn Olenn

“It wasn’t until we were sitting in the seats that I realized we could actually win,” says Ruslan Sirota ’03 of his experience at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Both his composition and production work on Stanley Clarke’s album, The Stanley Clarke Band, had put him in the running for a statuette. “It was a good record, and I felt really lucky to win,” says Sirota, who acknowledges that luck has played a prominent role in many key moments in his life.