Alumni Profiles

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
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
Guitarist/Composer
Class of 1999 (Guitar)

A member of the class of 1999 and an entrepreneurial visionary in the business of creative music and education, Prasanna was voted among the top 50 creative Indians by Open Magazine.

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
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
Bassist; Violinist; Saxophonist
Class of 1970 (Bass)

George Mraz came to Berklee in 1968 by way of the Czech Republic. Since coming to the United States,  he has been an in-demand bassist, playing with a host of jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and Charles Mingus and garnering credits on almost 1,000 recordings.

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
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
Singer-Songwriter; Multi-Instrumentalist
Class of 1980 (Voice)

Aimee Mann discovered her voice in punk rock during her years at Berklee College of Music in the late 1970s. The iconoclastic singer, who also plays multiple instruments, enrolled at Berklee in 1978 but left a few years later to join the Boston punk band the Young Snakes. Her singing, performing, and recording career spans decades.

Alumni
Jazz Clarinetist
Class of 2012 (Woodwinds)

Norwegian-born jazz clarinetist Felix Peikli '12 released his expansive debut album, Royal Flush, in 2015; the album features an all-alumni quintet and appearances from Lee Hogans, Marcus Miller, and Albino Mbie '13.

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
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
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
Pianist; Composer
Class of 2013 (Jazz Composition)

Hailing from Havana, Cuba, pianist and composer Dayramir Gonzalez ’13 is known as an advocate for traditional Cuban music, including the danzón. He has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Havana Jazz Festival, among others. His album Grand Concourse was released in 2016 and he is the cofounder of the Art School of Contemporary Performance and Creativity. The school provides comprehensive music education to New York City elementary school students.

Alumni
Guitarist; Composer
Class of 1975 (Guitar)

The bluesy style and blistering chops of Mike Stern have made him an electric guitar icon for more than four decades. An eclectic and virtuoso guitarist and composer, he first gained notice playing with Blood, Sweat & Tears; Billy Cobham; and Joe Henderson.

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
Vocalist
Class of 2009 (Voice, Ensembles)

After graduating from Berklee in 2009, Philip joined the faculty and went on to found the college’s Indian Ensemble, one of the largest and most diverse ensembles with more than 50 members, and direct the sold-out A. R. Rahman tribute concert in October 2014 . 

Alumni
Class of 1992 (Percussion)

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.

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
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.

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