Alumni Profiles

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, In the Heights, and Dear Evan Hansen.

Alumni
Bassist; Guitarist
Class of 1972 (Bass, Composition)

Abraham Laboriel Sr. '72 is one of the most legendary bass players of his era, having thousands of album credits to his name playing for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, and Madonna.

Alumni
Music Entrepreneur; Guitarist; Songwriter
Class of 1990 (Professional Music, Guitar)

Derek Sivers graduated in 1990 from Berklee, where he majored in professional music. He entered as a guitarist and came out a self-proclaimed “everything guy” after studying voice, composition, piano, songwriting, music synthesis, and production.

Alumni
Game Audio Production Studio
The Hexany Audio team in 2018

Formed in 2012 by a team of Berklee graduates, Hexany Audio specializes in music production, sound design, and voice-over for video games.

Alumni
Guitarist/Composer
Class of 1999 (Guitar)

A member of the class of 1999 and an entrepreneurial visionary in the business of creative music and education, Prasanna was voted among the top 50 creative Indians by Open Magazine.

Alumni
Jazz Saxophonist
Class of 2011 (Woodwinds)

Hailey Niswanger’s trajectory as a jazz saxophonist resembles that of a shooting star. The young musician graduated in 2011 after studying jazz performance on a full scholarship. But by that time, she had already released the album, Confeddie, that prompted jazz critic Nat Hentoff to proclaim the 19 year old as part of the future of jazz. She had won a Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award in saxophone and played in a festival in Washington, D.C.

Alumni
Music Therapist, Doctor
Class of 2004 (Music Therapy)

After Maria Hernandez completed her clinical medical training, she learned how music could complement medicine. She went on to earn a degree from Berklee in music therapy in 2004.

Alumni
Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher
Class of 2005 (Dance)

Contemporary dancer Ebony Williams B.F.A. ’05, contemporary dance, has done everything from train with the Boston Ballet to perform commercially with the likes of Rihanna, Fergie, and Beyoncé in her 2009 “Single Ladies” music video.

Alumni
Singer-songwriter
Class of 2012

Vasuda Sharma was a pop star in India when she decided to come to Berklee and learn how to forge a new path.

Alumni
Guitarist; Songwriter
Class of 2009 (Guitar)

Nili Brosh was only 18 and a Berklee College of Music student when she shot to YouTube fame. In her 2007 video, she was practicing guitar in her family home in Newton, Massachusetts, playing a solo originally performed by her hero, Guthrie Govan. Two years and 120,000 views later, Brosh had attained a form of modern celebrity. She didn’t waver from her studies, though, graduating summa cum laude in 2009 even while she performed with the Nili Brosh Band in the Boston area.

Alumni
Musical Director
Class of 2006 (Professional Music, Guitar)

Since graduating from Berklee in 2006 and moving to L.A., guitarist Drew Taubenfeld has served as musical director for Meghan Trainor, Selena Gomez, and fellow alumnus Charlie Puth B.M. '13, among others. When we talked to him over the phone in June 2017, he had just started working with soul singer Leon Bridges. 

Alumni
Class of 2013 (Music Therapy, Songwriting)
Hannah Christianson

We first encountered Hannah Christianson B.M. '13 at a meditative yoga class, tipped off that she may be a Berklee alumna as her ethereal vocals and soulful ukulele ushered the packed class at the Boston YMCA into a state of zen. Christianson, who also works as a teacher, producer, and performer, talked to us over the phone in June 2017 during an apprenticeship in upstate New York.

Alumni
Media and Operations Manager, BPMI

New Jersey native and bassist Jeff Apruzzese '08 studied music business/management at Berklee. In his final semester, he cofounded the indie-electronica group Passion Pit, and spent the next eight years playing to festivals and stadiums with the band.

 

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 1976 (Percussion)
Steve Smith’s career proves how varied a life in drumming can be. Famous as the drummer for the legendary band Journey, he has combined the rock arena life with leading a group dedicated to preserving the great jazz traditions, teaching drum clinics all over the world, recording many albums, and delving into South India’s rhythmic vocal art form called konnakol. 
 
Alumni
Bassist; Violinist; Saxophonist
Class of 1970 (Bass)

George Mraz came to Berklee in 1968 by way of the Czech Republic. Since coming to the United States,  he has been an in-demand bassist, playing with a host of jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and Charles Mingus and garnering credits on almost 1,000 recordings.

Alumni
Class of 1990 (Professional Music)
JazzReach founder and Berklee alumnus Hans Schuman '90.

For the last 23 years, Hans Schuman B.M. ’90 has been at the helm of his New York City–based nonprofit organization JazzReach, crisscrossing the nation with passion and tenacity to introduce hundreds of thousands of young people to jazz music. He’s just wrapped the organization’s 2016–2017 season of educational programming and is preparing to embark on an ambitious, summer-long capacity-building campaign that aims to take the organization into the next exciting phase of its history and mission.

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. When she returned to Berklee in 2012 to speak about her success as a professional drummer, producer, and arranger, she explained, "Being a musician is not only something that you do, it's something that you are." She added that it takes discipline and dedication to pursue something as complex as music.

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 2003 (Percussion)

Like his dynamic drumming style, Thomas Pridgen started off strong from a very young age. At 5, he was drumming in church, encouraged by his grandmother. At 9, he won a Guitar Center Drum-Off, besting contestants decades older. At 15, he won a four-year scholarship to Berklee, the youngest recipient in its history. He graduated in 2003.

Alumni
Composer
Class of 1970 (Film Scoring Department)
Composer Alan Silvestri

Alan Silvestri, one of the most prolific and celebrated film composers in Hollywood, credits his years at Berklee College of Music as the impetus for his career. Life at Berklee in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he said in an interview, “was just filled with the greatest living talent in the jazz world. ... You were living in that environment and receiving as much by osmosis as by direct teaching. It had a huge impact.”

Alumni
Manager, CEO, and Cofounder, New Torch Entertainment
Class of 2012 (Music Business/Management)

Ethan Schiff gets to make dreams come true. As manager, CEO, and cofounder of New Torch Entertainment (which he created with another Berklee alumnus, Nick Susi '12), he works to help artists reach their musical and career goals. Schiff has always loved music, as well as assisting people in making their music and getting it heard, so artist management seemed to be a natural career fit.

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