A Brief History

Lawrence Berk at the blackboard with students.
Duke Ellington plays at a commencement reception.
John Williams (pointing at TV) discusses his score for Jaws.
Ricky Skaggs talks to a student.
Curtis Warner leads a theory class.
Grandmaster Flash teaches a clinic.
Student Mario Guthrie records his show on the BIRN.

1945 Founded by Lawrence Berk, Schillinger House is the first U.S. school to teach the popular music of the time, jazz.

1954 Changes its name to Berklee School of Music.

1960s Recognizes guitar as a principal instrument, and rock music hits campus.

1963 Becomes the only college in the world offering a degree that includes an emphasis on American music.

1966 Graduates its first baccalaureate degree class.

1970 Changes name to Berklee College of Music.

1971 Duke Ellington receives the college's first honorary doctorate.

1979 Lee Eliot Berk becomes the college's second president. Establishes the world's first undergraduate degree program in film scoring.

1984 Launches the world's first college-level major in music synthesis (now renamed Electronic Production and Design).

1987 Begins offering the world's first college-level songwriting major. Students spend several days in Nashville, attending clinics, concerts, and jam sessions, giving birth to an annual pilgrimage to Music City.

1991 City Music, Berklee's program to make music education available to underserved youths, is launched.

1992 Establishes Berklee International Network.

1993 Establishes hand percussion as a principal instrument. Founds Berklee International Network (BIN) to support contemporary music education globally.

1994 Opens Berklee Center in Los Angeles to build strategic relationships for the college throughout the music industry.

1995 Launches student-run Heavy Rotation Records to promote student rock, pop, and hip-hop talent.

1999 Incorporates hip-hop into the curriculum.

2002 Launches Berklee Online, an online music school.

2003 Students found the college's second label, Jazz Revelation Records.

2004 Roger H. Brown is named the college's third president.

2004 First turntablism course offered.

2005 Music Business/Management becomes the most popular of the college's 12 majors.

2006 Increases presence of bluegrass on campus as mandolin and banjo become principal instruments.

2006 Updates mission statement to acknowledge the African cultural diaspora.

2007 The Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN) hits the digital airwaves.

2008 Opens Cafe 939, a student-run, 200-seat, live-music venue and coffeehouse.

2009 Adds three new video game scoring classes as part of new video game curriculum.

2010 Launches assistive music technology program for visually impaired musicians.

2011 Opens first international campus in Valencia, Spain.

2014 Berklee Online launches an online bachelor of professional studies degree program.

2014 Opens 160 Massachusetts Avenue, Berklee's first custom-built building.

2016 Merges with Boston Conservatory.

2017 First class enters Harvard/Berklee dual-degree program.