When we caught wind that Steve Corn’s record label, BFM Jazz, had three releases that were nominated for five Grammys this year, we had to get the story of this jazz record label that has somehow not only survived into the digital age but flourished in the pop age, and the Berklee alumnus behind it.
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.
Award-winning jazz trombonist, composer, and former Berklee professor Hal Crook ’71 has been playing music for more than 60 years. He took up the piano at 5 years old, started composing original pieces at 8, and moved on to trombone at 12. He attended Berklee on a scholarship from DownBeat magazine and received a Bachelor of Music in arranging and composition.
Formed in 2012 by a team of Berklee graduates, Hexany Audio specializes in music production, sound design, and voice-over for video games.
Tali Rubinstein is an extraordinary recorder player, vocalist and composer from Israel. Her contemporary music, unique sound, and outstanding performances make her a promising new talent in the jazz and world music scene.
Felipe Lara, the Brazilian-American composer praised by the New York Times and other critics for his brilliant modern music, rates collaboration with other musicians the most important aspect of his work. In an interview for Berklee, he said he is fortunate to have worked with some of the most talented groups and musicians, adding: “I consider these projects my biggest accomplishments, as opposed to awards, press, and such non-musical artifacts.”
Tal Even-Tzur, an Israeli pianist, vocalist, and composer with delicate yet modern harmonizations in her playing and her compositions, is an outstanding musician with a promising career ahead.
Trumpet player and arranger Rashawn Ross ’00 is probably best known as a touring member of the Dave Matthews Band, but his range of experiences is not confined to one group. Hailing from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, he knew while he was still in high school that music was his calling. He took to performing with local dance and calypso bands, and after high school, he came to Berklee to study. After graduation, he was working as a session musician when he played on stage with the Dave Matthews Band for the first time in June of 2005.
Benji Rogers launched PledgeMusic based on the idea that music fans want to give more—not less—to support their favorite artists. The company now employs more than 40 people and launches two to three albums a day.
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.
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.
A globally acclaimed Palestinian cellist, Naseem Alatrash is a sonic product of his upbringing in the Middle East. An accomplished classically trained musician and improviser in diverse styles, Alatrash has earned a reputation for fearlessly broadening the horizons of the cello on the world stage.
To call vibraphonist Gary Burton '62 '89H a superstar is wildly underplaying the impact this Berklee stalwart has had on the world of music. His long career as a performer, teacher, improviser, recording artist, and mentor to generations of musicians has been entwined with Berklee since he first came to Boston to attend the college in the early '60s.
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.
Jazz saxophonist, flautist, and composer Greg Abate '71 played lead alto saxophone in the Ray Charles Orchestra in the early '70s after completing his studies at Berklee, and has since recorded more than 16 albums.
Makeba Riddick, an award-winning singer-songwriter and producer, is successful by any standard. She has worked with Rihanna and Beyoncé, collaborated with David Guetta and Tamar Braxton, and produced songs for Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey. With nine no. 1 records, three Grammy nominations, and one Grammy to her credit, her star continues to rise.
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.
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.
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.