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.
An accomplished singer, songwriter, DJ and producer, Aruna ('02) is a well known EDM singer and a fixture on the international dance circuit.
We’ve been hearing about Beto Hale’s new studio in Los Angeles for almost as long as it’s existed. His new project's backstory can be found in what brought him from a kid banging on pots and pans in Mexico City to where he is today.
Eleni Arapoglou is a dynamic singer from Athens, Greece. After graduating from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in drama and dance, she continued her studies at Berklee, where she obtained a professional diploma in vocal performance. While at Tufts, Arapoglou toured with the Tufts Jazz Orchestra and opened for the Roots with her band in May 2010.
Panpipe virtuoso Damian Draghici ’98 swapped a celebrated music career for a seat in the European Parliament to campaign for Roma rights.
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.
Born and raised in San Jose, California, Rohith Jayaraman is a vocalist, composer, arranger, and percussionist who specializes in Carnatic (South Indian classical) vocal music and vocal percussion. As a student at Berklee College of Music, he was also one of the early members of the college’s renowned Berklee Indian Ensemble, arranging and composing for the group. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in music therapy in 2016, Jayaraman became the assistant manager of the Berklee India Exchange.
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.
Trumpet player and arranger Rashawn Ross ’00 is probably best known as a touring member of the Dave Matthews Band, but his range of experiences is not confined to one group. Hailing from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, he knew while he was still in high school that music was his calling. He took to performing with local dance and calypso bands, and after high school, he came to Berklee to study. After graduation, he was working as a session musician when he played on stage with the Dave Matthews Band for the first time in June of 2005.
Esperanza Spalding graduated from Berklee in 2005, making history upon graduation by becoming one of the youngest instructors in the college’s history. This was just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Spalding went on in 2011 to become the first jazz musician to win the Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford & Sons.
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.
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.
Alex Lacamoire, who graduated from Berklee in 1995, has earned Tony Awards for his orchestration work on musicals Hamilton and In the Heights.
Maddie Rice has proven to be a young musician to watch. As a 2014 Berklee College of Music graduate with a burgeoning pop-rock career in electric guitar, she was chosen in 2015 to be part of the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. As a member of Stay Human, Jon Batiste’s band, Rice adds to the group’s unique blend of jazz, funk, and pop.
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 .
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.
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.”
Taku Hirano '95 has become one of the top percussionists on the touring and recording circuit, having worked with Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Jay-Z, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru, and Academy Award-winning composer A. R. Rahman H'14.
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.
To some musicians, fame comes early. Then there’s the rest of your career. Sierra Hull '11, who was called to the Grand Old Opry stage as an 11-year-old to play the mandolin by international star Alison Krauss, is figuring out hers.