Alumni Profiles

Alumni

New York City-based singer/songwriter Sara Rachele '13 has received praise from the likes of NPR  and SPIN for her heartfelt songs rooted in Americana, alternative rock, and folk.

Alumni
Berklee India Exchange, Managing Director
Class of 1998

A native of Mumbai, India, and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Clint Valladares serves as the managing director of the Berklee India Exchange. Since joining Berklee as a staff member in 2009, Valladares built capacity within the Berklee City Music Network®, a network of community organizations across the United States and Canada committed to delivering high-quality contemporary music instruction to youth from underserved communities, to create a richer consortium of like-minded organizations.

Alumni
Jazz Trumpet Player; Fluegelhorn Player; Educator
Class of 1989 (Brass)

Trumpet and flugelhorn player Ingrid Jensen ’89 came to Berklee by way of Nanaimo, British Columbia. An award-winning musician, she has been considered a standout jazz trumpeter since the release of her first album, Vernal Fields (ENJA, 1995), which won a Juno Award. Jensen subsequently made two more acclaimed albums with ENJA and found herself in demand as a leader and a session musician.

Alumni
Class of 1992 (Percussion)

John “Lil’ John” Roberts '92 is one of the most sought after R&B and jazz drummers of his generation, having performed and toured with Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Michael Jackson and Elton John, and many others.

Alumni
Jazz Violinist; Composer
Class of 2003 (Strings)

Mads Tolling’s path was set at age 14 when his father gave him a Miles Davis cassette. The native of Copenhagen, Denmark, so identified with the freedom and spirit of  ‘60s jazz that he set on a path to bend his instrument, the violin, to that music. At age 20 he came to the United States to Berklee College of Music to pursue jazz studies, graduating summa cum laude in 2003.

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 2005 (Percussion)
Nikki Glaspie '05

Nikki Glaspie, who traveled the world as the drummer in superstar Beyoncé's all-woman backup band, has honed a clear vision of herself and others as musicians. She credits her years at Berklee, from which she graduated in 2005, and performing in Boston in leading her to that vision.

Alumni
Orchestrator; Arranger; Pianist
Class of 1995 (Professional Music, Piano)

Alex Lacamoire, who graduated from Berklee in 1995, has earned Tony Awards for his orchestration work on musicals Hamilton and In the Heights.

Alumni
Rock Band

The Shills, featuring MP&E grads Dave Sicilian '06 and James Zaner '06, have been a leading force in the Boston rock scene for a decade, and were recently listed as No. 1 in Vents Magazine's top-ten list of Boston bands.

Alumni
Composer; Saxophonist
Class of 1997 (Film Scoring)
Norihiko Hibino ’97

Saxophonist, composer, video game musician, and developer of therapeutic applications of music, Norihiko Hibino is truly a Renaissance man. Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1973, Hibino came to Berklee College of Music to pursue a career in jazz saxophone. After graduating in 1997, he began performing solo in Kansas City, Missouri, but veered into composing for video games after returning to Japan.

Alumni
Composer/Saxophonist
Class of 1981 (Composition, Jazz Composition, , Woodwinds)
Daniel Schnyder with his saxophone
The Backstory

Daniel Schnyder '81 grew up in Switzerland in the ‘60s and ‘70s. His mother was a professor of French and history, and his father was an archaeologist, art history professor, and a musician in his spare time who would frequently bring home bizarre and foreign instruments from all over the world, particularly the Middle East.

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter; DJ; Producer

An accomplished singer, songwriter, DJ and producer, Aruna ('02) is a well known EDM singer and a fixture on the international dance circuit.

Alumni
Class of 2013

When Sergio Martinez thinks of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, he thinks of his “second family.” A 2013 Berklee graduate who studied jazz performance, this Madrid, Spain, native is back in his home country teaching at Berklee's campus in Valencia, Spain, and trying to pass on to other students the lessons and traditions he learned from his BGJI professors.

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter; Guitarist
Class of 1992 (Songwriting)

Gillian Welch '92, celebrated for her spare but beautiful voice and lyrics expressed in Americana, bluegrass, and Appalachian music, has singled out the rewards of a simple exercise she learned at Berklee. Asked the most important takeaway, she answered without hesitation: “Object writing, no question.” A 10-minute morning exercise as a tool to stimulate creativity helped this acclaimed singer-songwriter find her unique voice. 

Alumni
Jazz Percussionist
Class of 2004 (Percussion, Harmony)

Jazz percussionist and composer Marco Pacassoni has performed with Michel Camilo, Alex Acuna, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and Steve Smith, and is an educator and author in his native Italy.

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter
Class of 2011 (Voice, Professional Music)

Kiesza, whose full name is Kiesa Rae Ellestad, blazed into fame after her YouTube video “Hideaway” received nearly 60 million views in 2014.

Alumni
Jazz Pianist
Class of 1989 (Jazz Composition)

Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer ’89, a two-time Grammy nominee, has built a successful career by creating unusual and compelling music with a wide range of artists, from singers such as Diana Krall '83 to bassists such as Christian McBride, and rock stars such as Sting. Since his teenage days playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Wisconsin native Keezer has toured all over the world, playing with giants of jazz like Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny '96H, and Wayne Shorter ‘99H.

Alumni
Composer; Conductor
Class of 1969 (Film Scoring)

Howard Shore’s film scoring resumé, containing everything from The Lord of the Rings cycle to the 2016 Academy Award winner for best picture, Spotlight, is so impressive that it might seem intimidating to music students. And yet, Shore, who studied composition at Berklee College of Music long before there was a Film Scoring Department, credits his time at Berklee with helping him get his start. “Berklee had the keys to everything I was interested in, so it was a very quiet kind of gathering up of information,” Shore said in a Berklee interview.

Alumni
Violinist
Class of 2014

Born in Baghdad and raised in Amman, Jordan, Layth Al-­Rubaye is a leading Middle Eastern violinist on the world music stage. Raised in a musical family, Al-­Rubaye started playing the violin at the age of four and quickly began performing as a young soloist.

Alumni
Electronic Music Artist

Alyosha Barreiro '01 recently caught our attention when he performed in Mexico City in front of over 120,000 people for their Day of the Dead festival. We caught up with him after, and it turns out he is no stranger to huge crowds and incredible stories.

Alumni
Music Production Team

Berklee alumni and brothers James Morales '06 and Matt Morales ’08, along with David Rodriguez, make up the production team the Elev3n, whose clients include Karmin, Sean Kingston, Meghan Trainor, and Jesse McCartney.

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