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.
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.
Makeba Riddick, an award-winning singer-songwriter and producer, is successful by any standard. She has worked with Rihanna and Beyoncé, collaborated with David Guetta and Tamar Braxton, and produced songs for Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey. With nine no. 1 records, three Grammy nominations, and one Grammy to her credit, her star continues to rise.
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.
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.
A master of his art, John Scofield has been a major figure in the guitar world since the 1970s. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1973, he set out on a stellar career, playing music that ranges from jazz to funk to R&B. For more than four decades, he has been a major jazz influence as a guitarist and composer.
John Myung ‘86 studied bass guitar at Berklee and is best known as the bassist for the wildly popular progressive metal band Dream Theater.
Kiesza, whose full name is Kiesa Rae Ellestad, blazed into fame after her YouTube video “Hideaway” received nearly 60 million views in 2014.
Donny McCaslin ’88 is perhaps best known as the saxophonist on David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar, released days before the singer’s death in early 2016. But McCaslin’s life as a musician stretches back to playing with his father’s band at age 12 in California as well as to years in the New York jazz world.
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.
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.”
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.
The daughter of Donny Hathaway, the late soul legend, Lalah Hathaway has forged her own way in music, using a lovely contralto to pursue various styles that mix R&B, jazz, and pop. She's also a pianist who won three Grammys in three years: best R&B performance for “Something” with Snarky Puppy in 2014; best traditional R&B performance for “Jesus Children” with Robert Glasper in 2015; and best traditional R&B performance for “Little Ghetto Boy” in 2016.
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.”
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.
Drummer Harvey Mason ’68 has worked with a Who’s Who of musicians, playing with everyone from Bob James to Chick Corea to Lee Ritenour to George Benson. He has toured with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and been in the Mizell Brothers' productions with Donald Byrd, Johnny Hammond, Bobbi Humphrey, and Gary Bartz. His drum duet with percussionist Ralph MacDonald on Benson’s hit “On Broadway” shows off his style, and his beats have been samples for the Notorious B.I.G. and P. Diddy, among others.
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.