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:
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.
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.
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.
Jason Eckardt, renowned as a champion of new music, credits hearing the music of Anton Webern for his conversion from a heavy metal guitarist to a composer. While at Berklee, he changed his major from guitar performance to composition, graduating cum laude in 1992. He later received a doctorate in composition from Columbia University.
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.
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.
Lydia Renold, a singer, composer, director, and producer, was born and raised in Switzerland in a family of musicians and producers. She became deeply immersed in music and the music industry at an early age, thanks to growing up around her parents’ music festival, Jazzaar, which allowed her to develop deeper insights into many aspects of the business while providing exposure to different cultures and styles.
Vasuda Sharma was a pop star in India when she decided to come to Berklee and learn how to forge a new path.
Fully charting Mindi Abair’s career as a saxophonist would be as dizzying as reading the long lists of accolades she has garnered. Having been a saxophonist on American Idol, toured with Aerosmith, appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, played at the Grand Ole Opry, recorded multiple albums, and received several Grammy nominations, Abair is at the top of her game.
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.
Trumpet and flugelhorn player Ingrid Jensen ’89 came to Berklee by way of Nanaimo, British Columbia. An award-winning musician, she has been considered a standout jazz trumpeter since the release of her first album, Vernal Fields (ENJA, 1995), which won a Juno Award. Jensen subsequently made two more acclaimed albums with ENJA and found herself in demand as a leader and a session musician.
Jazz percussionist and composer Marco Pacassoni has performed with Michel Camilo, Alex Acuna, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and Steve Smith, and is an educator and author in his native Italy.
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.
Mads Tolling’s path was set at age 14 when his father gave him a Miles Davis cassette. The native of Copenhagen, Denmark, so identified with the freedom and spirit of ‘60s jazz that he set on a path to bend his instrument, the violin, to that music. At age 20 he came to the United States to Berklee College of Music to pursue jazz studies, graduating summa cum laude in 2003.
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.
Daniel Schnyder '81 grew up in Switzerland in the ‘60s and ‘70s. His mother was a professor of French and history, and his father was an archaeologist, art history professor, and a musician in his spare time who would frequently bring home bizarre and foreign instruments from all over the world, particularly the Middle East.
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.