William C. Banfield

Professor

"The Africana Studies, Music and Society program explores black music traditions both in terms of their American development and their global reach. And that fits into Berklee's mission because the school was founded on popular American music traditions that grew out of black music traditions. At the center of this music are the greats—whether you're looking at Bessie Smith or Duke Ellington or Mahalia Jackson—who fit centrally into the development of American culture, musical and otherwise. The way in which they navigated their lives and their culture into American culture was with this music. And because of that, America was made better."

"You can't know where you're going unless you know where you are, and where you came from. When you put those three things together, you have the best formula for making a successful impact on your craft and on the world of music. When students start to sense all the connections, you can see the 'aha experience' in the eyes. It's in the questions they ask, it's in their performances. It's a spirit."

 

 

Career Highlights

 

  • B.A., New England Conservatory of Music
  • M.T.S., Boston University
  • D.M.A., University of Michigan
  • Leader of the BMagic Orchestra
  • Member of the Bill Banfield Trio
  • Author of Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers and Black Notes: Essays of a Musician Writing in a Post-Album Age
  • Recipient of NEA, NEH, Jerome Foundation, and Lila Wallace Foundation awards
  • National Public Radio host
  • Works performed by the National, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Richmond, Akron, Toledo, San Diego, and Sacramento symphonies
  • Recordings with TelArc, Atlantic, Innova, Centaur, Albany, and Visionary records