Alumni Profiles

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
Saxophonist
Class of 1991 (Woodwinds)

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.

Alumni
Jazz Trombonist; Composer; Educator
Class of 1971 (Brass, Ensembles)
Side profile of Hal Crook playing trombone.

Award-winning jazz trombonist, composer, and former Berklee professor Hal Crook ’71 has been playing music for more than 60 years. He took up the piano at 5 years old, started composing original pieces at 8, and moved on to trombone at 12. He attended Berklee on a scholarship from DownBeat magazine and received a Bachelor of Music in arranging and composition.

Alumni
Drummer
Class of 2003 (Percussion)

Like his dynamic drumming style, Thomas Pridgen started off strong from a very young age. At 5, he was drumming in church, encouraged by his grandmother. At 9, he won a Guitar Center Drum-Off, besting contestants decades older. At 15, he won a four-year scholarship to Berklee, the youngest recipient in its history. He graduated in 2003.

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
Brass Band
(Brass)

The Regiment Horns is a group comprising three Berklee alumni: Sean Erick ‘06 (trumpet, flugelhorn), Kevin Lloyd Williams Jr. ’03 (flute, tuba, trombone), and Leon Silva Jr. ‘07 (saxophone). The three men met at Berklee but didn’t form the band until they had all graduated and moved to Los Angeles.

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
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
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
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
Cellist; Singer
Class of 2003 (Strings)

An eclectic, whimsical, inventive performer and personality, Rushad Eggleston is a cello player with a difference. Calling himself the Ambassador of Sneth and Wild Cello Goblin, Eggleston improvises in fiddle styles on the cello. Now touring the world—from Italy to Belgium and beyond—as a solo performer on cello, vocals, and kazoo, he wears a jester costume and sings in his own imaginary language.  

A native of Carmel, California, he attended Berklee on a full scholarship after winning a competition.  

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; 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
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
Jazz Pianist
Class of 1994 (Jazz Composition)

Lester Menezes '94 studied jazz composition at Berklee. He formed a trio in his name with Dominique Girod and Norbert Pfammatter, to focus on sensitively interpreting his original repertoire and later expand with music from other sources. 

Alumni
Singer-Songwriter; DJ; Producer

An accomplished singer, songwriter, DJ and producer, Aruna ('02) is a well known EDM singer and a fixture on the international dance circuit.

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
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
Saxophonist
Class of 1981 (Woodwinds)

Donald Harrison Jr. ’81 has combined a whirlwind career as a saxophonist with establishing cultural and educational traditions in his native New Orleans, Louisiana. Known for creating nouveau swing, a jazz style that combines R&B, funk, hip-hop, and African dance, Harrison tours all over the world and has many albums and honors to his name.

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.”

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