Alumni Profiles

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
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
Drummer
Class of 2010 (Percussion)

Drummer, percussionist, and educator Kristen Gleeson-Prata B.M. '10 has been making her mark in Los Angeles, performing with diverse acts like BØRNS, Abby Posner, Kenton Chen of The Sing-Off, and Derik Nelson of Glee.

Alumni
Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute

Grammy Award–winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz—incorporating the music of the Americas, folkloric music, and world music—has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences.

Alumni
Guitarist
Class of 2014 (Guitar)

Maddie Rice has proven to be a young musician to watch. As a 2014 Berklee College of Music graduate with a burgeoning pop-rock career in electric guitar, she was chosen in 2015 to be part of the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. As a member of Stay Human, Jon Batiste’s band, Rice adds to the group’s unique blend of jazz, funk, and pop.

Alumni
President, Geffen Records
Class of 1999

As a teenager, Neil Jacobson ’99 set his sights on becoming a record label executive. After 15 years at Interscope Records, he now occupies the president's office at Geffen Records.

Alumni
Violinist; Composer; Singer
Class of 1999 (Strings, Film Scoring)

Kishi Bashi '99 is a multitalented musician whose years at Berklee infused his music with cinematic lushness. He composes on violin, and sings and writes songs blending Japanese and English, as well as performing on guitar and keyboard. His solo albums, 151a and Lighght, demonstrated his versatility. Another, Sonderlust, due out in September 2016, continues to showcase his talent.

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
Jazz Saxophonist; Flutist; Composer; Arranger

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.

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
Bassist
Class of 1986 (Bass)

John Myung ‘86 studied bass guitar at Berklee and is best known as the bassist for the wildly popular progressive metal band Dream Theater.

Alumni
Guitarist; Composer
Class of 1973 (Guitar)

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.

Alumni
Composer; Educator
Class of 1976 (Composition)
Michael Gandolfi

Michael Gandolfi combines a deep understanding of classical music with an equally rich background in rock, blues, and jazz to create his stunning compositions. His distinctively contemporary music distills all of his experiences to produce works that have been performed and recorded by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, and many more.

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
Trumpet Player; Arranger
Class of 2000 (Brass)

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.

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
Saxophonist
Class of 2009 (Woodwinds)

Melissa Aldana, a rising star in the world of saxophone and the first female instrumentalist to win the coveted Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, has said she doesn’t think about shattering glass ceilings in her career. The native of Chile, who attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, just felt privileged to compete with “all these great young musicians.”

Alumni
Music Therapist; Singer-Songwriter
Class of 2007 (Music Therapy, Songwriting)

A board certified-music therapist, Ian Wilkerson '07 is the founder of Bay Area Music Therapy, an organization offering individualized music therapy programs and wellness services throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

Alumni

Since graduating from Berklee, Caili O’Doherty has followed her passions for composition, performance, education, and humanitarian work, performing at several of the world’s top jazz festivals and teaching at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and with the WeBop early-childhood jazz education program.

Alumni
Music Therapist; Youth Advocate
Class of 2006 (Music Therapy)

Through her work at The Center for Teen Empowerment, Samantha Hale '06 conceptualized the intersection of the professional arts, music therapy, and social justice. In collaboration with fellow alumnus Matt MacArthur ’10, director of The Record Company, Hale conceived Boston’s only youth-run and adult-supported record label, B4 Records.

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