Alumni Profiles

Alumni
Sound Design Company

Formed in 2011 by a team of Berklee students, Hexany Audio specializes in sound design and audio post-production for an international client base.

Alumni
Musical technology specialist; composer
Class of 2005

Kevin Doucette '05 enjoys a thriving career in Los Angeles and India, working with A. R. Rahman and other notable Indian musicians. 

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
Pianist
Class of 2010 (Piano)

Jiri Nedoma has been playing the piano since the age of 5. Born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic, he came to Boston to study at Berklee after getting a degree at Prague’s Conservatory of Jaroslav Jezek. He focused on classical music and jazz while attending the conservatory and simultaneously performed with the Czech Radio Big Band, giving him the opportunity to share stages across Europe with many types of musicians. 

Alumni
Cellist
Class of 2014

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.

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 1976 (Percussion)
Steve Smith’s career proves how varied a life in drumming can be. Famous as the drummer for the legendary band Journey, he has combined the rock arena life with leading a group dedicated to preserving the great jazz traditions, teaching drum clinics all over the world, recording many albums, and delving into South India’s rhythmic vocal art form called konnakol. 
 
Alumni
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
Bassist; Vocalist; Composer
Class of 2009 (Professional Music, Bass)

Katie Thiroux graduated from Berklee in 2009 after receiving a Presidential Scholarship in 2006 and majoring in professional music. Within her first year, she gained the attention of Berklee professor and alumna Terri Lyne Carrington ’83 H ’03 and alumnus Branford Marsalis ‘80 and performed at festivals in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America, both as a sideman and as a leader.

Alumni
Music Editor
Class of 1995 (Film Scoring)

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.

Alumni
Composer
Class of 1998 (Film Scoring, Guitar)

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.”

Alumni
Composer/Saxophonist
Class of 1981 (Composition, Jazz Composition, , Woodwinds)
Daniel Schnyder with his saxophone
The Backstory

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.

Alumni
Jazz Pianist; Composer
Class of 2012

Jazz pianist and composer Mina Yu '12, a native of Korea now based in New York, releases her debut album Papa's Records.

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 2005 (Percussion)
Nikki Glaspie '05

Nikki Glaspie, who traveled the world as the drummer in superstar Beyoncé's all-woman backup band, has honed a clear vision of herself and others as musicians. She credits her years at Berklee, from which she graduated in 2005, and performing in Boston in leading her to that vision.

Alumni
Lighting Programmer, Lighting Designer

Since graduating with a degree in Music Production and Engineering, Eric Marchwinski '10 has worked lights for the Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, Usher, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, and Beyoncé, among many others, and founded his own company, Earlybird Design.

Alumni
Media and Operations Manager, BPMI

New Jersey native and bassist Jeff Apruzzese '08 studied music business/management at Berklee. In his final semester, he cofounded the indie-electronica group Passion Pit, and spent the next eight years playing to festivals and stadiums with the band.

 

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter; Guitarist
Class of 1992 (Songwriting)

Gillian Welch '92, celebrated for her spare but beautiful voice and lyrics expressed in Americana, bluegrass, and Appalachian music, has singled out the rewards of a simple exercise she learned at Berklee. Asked the most important takeaway, she answered without hesitation: “Object writing, no question.” A 10-minute morning exercise as a tool to stimulate creativity helped this acclaimed singer-songwriter find her unique voice. 

Alumni
Manager, CEO, and Cofounder, New Torch Entertainment
Class of 2012 (Music Business/Management)

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.

Alumni
Composer
Class of 2002 (Composition)

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.”

Alumni
Guitarist; Singer; Composer; Producer
Class of 1979 (Guitar)

Known for his virtuosity and style, Steve Vai has had a long and enviable career as a guitarist, singer, composer, and producer.

Alumni
Class of 2014

Eleni Arapoglou is a dynamic singer from Athens, Greece. After graduating from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in drama and dance, she continued her studies at Berklee, where she obtained a professional diploma in vocal performance. While at Tufts, Arapoglou toured with the Tufts Jazz Orchestra and opened for the Roots with her band in May 2010.

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