Greg Hopkins

Professor
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"To me, the Jazz Composition Department is the nucleus of Berklee. It's graduated some of our most famous alumni: jazz writers like Alan Broadbent, and of course Quincy Jones. Herb Pomeroy started the department, and he really set the direction of the school in the '50s when he started teaching here. So the department has a lot of history."

"I love the concept of fusion. We attract students from all over the world, who bring with them their own ideas, their own innate ethnic rhythms, harmonies, melodies, and sometimes instruments. And they combine this with the American ideal of jazz."

"I think you have to bring yourself into the music and not just replicate other people's music. That's my whole philosophy. I'll assimilate all I can about Duke Ellington's music, for instance. And I'll try to write some things in his style. Not steal, but borrow. Then I'll let that sit in my system and figure out how I want to use it. I want to create my own language. Some of his sounds, textures, or vocabulary might come out in my music. But my ideas will come out, too. That's kind of what we do in the program."

Watch Greg Hopkins direct the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra in this piece written by a Berklee student:

 

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Michigan State University
  • Performances with Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Lena Horne, Dizzy Gillespie, Gladys Knight, and various Motown artists
  • Former arranger and jazz trumpeter with Billy Maxted and Buddy Rich orchestras
  • Performer and arranger on RCA Records
  • Arrangements and compositions published by Kendor and Studio P.R.
  • Director, Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra
  • Leader of quintet and big band with CDs on the Summit label