Alumni Profiles

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
Class of 1951
1951 Schillinger House graduate Eugene Carrescia

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. 

The Backstory

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.

Alumni
Jazz Trumpet Player; Fluegelhorn Player; Educator
Class of 1989 (Brass)

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.

Alumni
Clarinetist; Saxophonist
Class of 1998 (Woodwinds)

When clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen is described in performance, “joy” is often the attribute mentioned. This Berklee College of Music graduate’s lyrical virtuosity and her habit of dancing, shouting out encouragement to band members, and generally having a good time are infectious. Her many awards from DownBeat magazine, the Jazz Journalists Association, and others attest to her talents.

Alumni
Music Therapist
Class of 2002 (Music Therapy)

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.

Alumni
Guitarist; Songwriter
Class of 2009 (Guitar)

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.

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
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
Recorder Player; Vocalist; Composer
Class of 2014

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.

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
Drummer; Percussionist
Class of 2004 (Professional Music, Percussion)

Drummer and percussionist Demian Arriaga was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. At age 19, he moved to Boston to attend Berklee, graduating in 2004. He has performed with a variety of musicians including Iggy Azalea, Richie Kotzen, and the Jonas Brothers, among others.

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

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
Jazz Pianist
Class of 1989 (Jazz Composition)

Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer ’89, a two-time Grammy nominee, has built a successful career by creating unusual and compelling music with a wide range of artists, from singers such as Diana Krall '83 to bassists such as Christian McBride, and rock stars such as Sting. Since his teenage days playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Wisconsin native Keezer has toured all over the world, playing with giants of jazz like Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny '96H, and Wayne Shorter ‘99H.

Alumni
Singer; Film Scorer; Composer
Class of 2008 (Film Scoring)

Banda Magda, founded by Greek-born singer, film scorer, and composer Magda Giannikou '08 and joined by several Berklee alumni, deftly melds styles from samba to Greek folk to Columbian cumbia and has caught the attention of everyone from Kronos Quartet to Louis C.K.

Alumni
Vocalist; Qanun Player
Class of 2012

Ali Amr is a vocalist and qanun performer. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. Amr was honored with three advanced Marcel Khalife Competition prizes as the Best Arabic Music Performer, 2004-2007.

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
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
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
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.

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