Alumni Profiles

Alumni
Drummer, Living Colour

After graduating with honors from Berklee, Will Calhoun '86 went on to chart-topping success with rock band Living Colour and has played with jazz icons as well as African village masters in his lifelong exploration of the ancient art of drumming.

Alumni
CEO and Founder, PledgeMusic
Class of 1992

Benji Rogers launched PledgeMusic based on the idea that music fans want to give more—not less—to support their favorite artists. The company now employs more than 40 people and launches two to three albums a day. 

Alumni
Composer
Class of 1970 (Film Scoring)
Composer Alan Silvestri

Alan Silvestri, one of the most prolific and celebrated film composers in Hollywood, credits his years at Berklee College of Music as the impetus for his career. Life at Berklee in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he said in an interview, “was just filled with the greatest living talent in the jazz world. ... You were living in that environment and receiving as much by osmosis as by direct teaching. It had a huge impact.”

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
Pianist; Composer
Class of 2003 (Jazz Composition)

Award-winning Japanese pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara refuses to define herself or her music. She prefers to play and let her audience make up their own minds about what to call her music, saying, “It’s just the union of what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been learning.” Known for her passionate physical performances, virtuosity, and the ease with which she merges genres, Hiromi’s reluctance to use labels hasn’t hampered her ability to successfully produce and share her music with the world, to critical acclaim.

Alumni
Music Entrepreneur; Guitarist; Songwriter
Class of 1990 (Professional Music, Guitar)

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.

Alumni
Jazz Trumpet Player
Class of 1989 (Brass)

Grammy-winning trumpet player Roy Hargrove ’89 studied at Berklee just as his career was taking off. Although best known for his jazz skills, he excels at any genre he touches, working with diverse artists such as Angelique Kidjo, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, and John Mayer '98.

Alumni
Sound Designer/Editor
Gearty at the 2012 Academy Awards Ceremony.

Eugene Gearty '82 is an Oscar and Emmy-winning film sound designer and editor (Hugo, Boardwalk Empire) whose lengthy list of credits include Life of Pi, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Do The Right Thing, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy.

Alumni
Pianist; Vocalist; Composer
Class of 2014

Tal Even-Tzur, an Israeli pianist, vocalist, and composer with delicate yet modern harmonizations in her playing and her compositions, is an outstanding musician with a promising career ahead.

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
Pan Flutist
Class of 1998 (Professional Music)

Panpipe virtuoso Damian Draghici ’98 swapped a celebrated music career for a seat in the European Parliament to campaign for Roma rights.

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter
Class of 2006 (Voice)

Matt Nakoa came to Berklee on a scholarship, and studied with songwriting greats Pat Pattison and Livingston Taylor before graduating in 2006 and continuing his career as a folk singer-songwriter.

Alumni
Vibraphonist
Class of 1962 (Percussion)

To call vibraphonist Gary Burton '62 '89H a superstar is wildly underplaying the impact this Berklee stalwart has had on the world of music. His long career as a performer, teacher, improviser, recording artist, and mentor to generations of musicians has been entwined with Berklee since he first came to Boston to attend the college in the early '60s.

Alumni
President, Sony Music Latin; Songwriter
Class of 1996 (Music Business/Management)

As president of Sony Music U.S. Latin, Nir Seroussi has had enormous success in signing major acts such as Gloria Estefan, Prince Royce, and Enrique Iglesias. But he isn’t just after big names. Seroussi also searches for the most talented new artists he can find, and that has been critical in a career that has included having multiple no. 1 hits on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and nurturing acts such as Los Cuates de Sinaloa and Gerardo Ortiz.

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, and later became president of The Global Music Therapy Project, a nonprofit that specializes in providing music therapy services to disadvantaged populations in developing countries. 

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
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
Bassist; Guitarist
Class of 1972 (Bass, Composition)

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.

Alumni
Singer-songwriter
Class of 2012

Vasuda Sharma was a pop star in India when she decided to come to Berklee and learn how to forge a new path.

Alumni
Class of 2011 (Woodwinds, Jazz Composition)

Exposed to music early on through his legendary father and namesake, Latin Grammy-nominated Cuban tenor saxophonist Carlos Averhoff  Jr. '11 is a  contemporary Afro-Cuban jazz composer and educator described by All About Jazz as "a dynamic, fresh new voice on the saxophone," and now teaches woodwinds at Berklee's City Music Program

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