Manuel Kaufmann

Assistant Professor

"I teach Arranging 2 and Big Band Arranging. When I went to Berklee, I was a very reluctant arranging student. I just didn't think I needed it, and I wanted to become a studio musician. Taking all the other mandatory classes made sense, but arranging didn't. When would I ever arrange? It's funny that now I teach arranging and sell a lot of my arrangements. That's something that I try to instill in my students: You think you know what you want while you're here, but keep your mind open, because you have to be prepared when opportunities come up."

"For instance, I subbed for a cumbia/merengue/salsa band. The band leader came up to me and said, 'I have a cassette with five or six tunes. I want you to arrange the tunes for us.' I was a little dumbfounded. I found out that the bass player in the band used to be the arranger. Somehow he thought that's just what bass players do. So I got this arranging gig out of pure ignorance—maybe one of my first paid arranging gigs. But you've to be ready for it. It wasn't the goal of my life, but it was definitely an important lesson."

"The great thing about Arranging 2 and Big Band Arranging is that they look like any other arranging courses, but they're also classes in harmony, ear training, music history, musicianship, etc. The skills students learn cannot only be applied in general writing and arranging, but also enhance their communication and leadership skills on the bandstand and in the recording studio."

"Arranging 2 was a required course when I went to Berklee. It hasn't changed that much since then. Those techniques and principles, they're just as relevant today. They work for all kinds of styles and genres and will continue to do so. I really like to emphasize how you can apply a concept to any type of music. The language is different, but most of the ideas behind them are the same. How does one create and maintain drama, forward motion, variety, balance, etc.? You can use a Duke Ellington technique for something much more modern or for something more in the classical realm. All concepts offer unlimited applications!"

Career Highlights

  • Diploma, Berklee College of Music
  • M.M., Jazz Composition, Boston Conservatory
  • Bassist
  • Leader of the Manuel Kaufmann Jazz Orchestra and Nonet
  • Compositions and arrangements performed by Greg Hopkins, Herb Pomeroy, Jerry Bergonzi, Claudio Rodito, Bob Gullotti, Franco Ambrosetti, and Jeff Galindo in the U.S., Spain, Switzerland, Israel, China, Mexico, and Finland
  • More than 150 self-published jazz compositions/arrangements sold
  • Performances with Jim Black, Abe Laboriel Jr., Chris Speed, Cuong Vu, U.S. Airforce Band with Marvin Stamm, Dana Brayton's Funk Project, Joel Harrison, and Melrose Symphony