The bluesy style and blistering chops of Mike Stern have made him an electric guitar icon for more than four decades. An eclectic and virtuoso guitarist and composer, he first gained notice playing with Blood, Sweat & Tears; Billy Cobham; and Joe Henderson.
Taku Hirano '95 has become one of the top percussionists on the touring and recording circuit, having worked with Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Jay-Z, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru, and Academy Award-winning composer A. R. Rahman H'14.
John Mayer has had several musical lives rolled into one: a pop star, a renowned guitarist, a heartthrob, a serious student of the blues, and a gritty comeback artist who returned from a two-year hiatus because of vocal cord problems to develop a passion for the music of the Grateful Dead.
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.
John Myung ‘86 studied bass guitar at Berklee and is best known as the bassist for the wildly popular progressive metal band Dream Theater.
Esperanza Spalding graduated from Berklee in 2005, making history upon graduation by becoming one of the youngest instructors in the college’s history. This was just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Spalding went on in 2011 to become the first jazz musician to win the Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford & Sons.
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.
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.
Mark Kelley has been the full-time bass chair with the Roots since 2011, a gig he landed after being asked to sub for Christian McBride in Questlove’s band Mo’ Meta Blues.
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.
After bowing out of the spotlight as a lead singer for a behind-the-scenes role as a songwriter, Justin Tranter '01 has written many songs that have become fixtures on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
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.
We’ve been hearing about Beto Hale’s new studio in Los Angeles for almost as long as it’s existed. His new project's backstory can be found in what brought him from a kid banging on pots and pans in Mexico City to where he is today.
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.”
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.
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.
To some musicians, fame comes early. Then there’s the rest of your career. Sierra Hull '11, who was called to the Grand Old Opry stage as an 11-year-old to play the mandolin by international star Alison Krauss, is figuring out hers.
Game of Thrones has been a megahit on television, and in the world of music, Ramin Djawadi's score for the show has earned accolades from critics. When Djawadi, a 1998 summa cum laude Berklee graduate, first came to the college, he concentrated on guitar and wanted to perform. But Berklee broadened his perspective. “The music I was writing lent itself to film,” he said in a Berklee interview. “Film music is a big passion of mine. Berklee showed me I could do both.”
Watch a video interview with Ramin Djawadi:
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.
Tanya Noel Hill’s career as a music editor for such films as Elf and The Jungle Book began with her father, who once surprised her with a guitar she coveted despite its high cost. Then a teenager, Hill was so encouraged by his support of her dreams that she pursued her musical goals and ended up attending Berklee. She majored in film scoring and graduated in 1995.