Norwegian-born jazz clarinetist Felix Peikli '12 released his expansive debut album, Royal Flush, in 2015; the album features an all-alumni quintet and appearances from Lee Hogans, Marcus Miller, and Albino Mbie '13.
Jillian Butler—one of the six Boston Conservatory alumni involved in the production of Wicked—spoke to students about her industry experience.
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.
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.
Great results sometimes come through serendipitous meetings. The success of contemporary composer Roberto Toscano might be traced to an introduction to late Berklee professor Vuk Kulenovic when Toscano was a Berklee student. After that, the young Brazilian changed his direction from guitar to composing, studying intensely with Kulenovic.
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.
The daughter of Donny Hathaway, the late soul legend, Lalah Hathaway has forged her own way in music, using a lovely contralto to pursue various styles that mix R&B, jazz, and pop. She's also a pianist who won three Grammys in three years: best R&B performance for “Something” with Snarky Puppy in 2014; best traditional R&B performance for “Jesus Children” with Robert Glasper in 2015; and best traditional R&B performance for “Little Ghetto Boy” in 2016.
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.
Gene Carrescia '51, a member of the first-ever graduating class of the Schillinger House, has been making music for over 70 years, including during World War II.
Eugene Carrescia was born in 1925 in Massachusetts. His father, who made a living as a musician traveling across the country with circuses, started teaching him to play the trumpet at 10 years old. In high school, Carrescia was already playing in nightclubs as well as in his high school band as drum major.
A master of his art, John Scofield has been a major figure in the guitar world since the 1970s. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1973, he set out on a stellar career, playing music that ranges from jazz to funk to R&B. For more than four decades, he has been a major jazz influence as a guitarist and composer.
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.
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.
Adam Sankowski, a board-certified music therapist working at the Kennedy Day School in Boston—a private school for students with significant special needs, located within the Franciscan Hospital for Children—helps young, often nonverbal students find their voice through music.
Kiesza, whose full name is Kiesa Rae Ellestad, blazed into fame after her YouTube video “Hideaway” received nearly 60 million views in 2014.
Jett Galindo B.M. '12 is one of the most sought-after mastering engineers in the industry, and it’s no wonder with her incredible work ethic. We managed to catch her in the studio between sessions and ask her some questions about how she ended up where she is today.
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.
Music has been a constant element in Athena Koumis’s life since she began playing the violin when she was 4 years old. She has since performed and recorded with several orchestras and bands, and in college began DJing and producing music. “I felt that I needed to be more informed of what was going on in the industry and wanted to learn from experts in the field while widening my professional network.
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.
Ken Ueno ’94 takes the composer’s imagination a step further than most, crafting each commissioned composition to match the very essence of the artist who commissioned it. As he puts it, "I take into consideration the specific skills of the performers and analyze them using computer technology to develop structures, form, and sounds from the analysis. When I write for myself and orchestra, I do overtone singing and multiphonics, then analyze the frequencies and create an acoustic resynthesis of some of my sounds.”
Composer Kazuma Jinnouchi ’02 has always dreamed of doing work that could cross cultural boundaries. After growing up in Japan and then attending Berklee College of Music, he returned to Japan to work on two Metal Gear Solid games with Konami and Kojima Productions. When he moved back to the U.S. in 2011, he was hired by 343 Industries to work on Halo 4, and though just one of his tracks was in the first volume of Halo’s soundtrack, the second volume had nine of his songs. Now, for Halo 5: Guardians, he’s composing the game’s entire soundtrack.