Through her work at The Center for Teen Empowerment, Samantha Hale '06 conceptualized the intersection of the professional arts, music therapy, and social justice. In collaboration with fellow alumnus Matt MacArthur ’10, director of The Record Company, Hale conceived Boston’s only youth-run and adult-supported record label, B4 Records.
Ken Ueno ’94 takes the composer’s imagination a step further than most, crafting each commissioned composition to match the very essence of the artist who commissioned it. As he puts it, "I take into consideration the specific skills of the performers and analyze them using computer technology to develop structures, form, and sounds from the analysis. When I write for myself and orchestra, I do overtone singing and multiphonics, then analyze the frequencies and create an acoustic resynthesis of some of my sounds.”
Drummer, percussionist, and educator Kristen Gleeson-Prata B.M. '10 has been making her mark in Los Angeles, performing with diverse acts like BØRNS, Abby Posner, Kenton Chen of The Sing-Off, and Derik Nelson of Glee.
Mads Tolling’s path was set at age 14 when his father gave him a Miles Davis cassette. The native of Copenhagen, Denmark, so identified with the freedom and spirit of ‘60s jazz that he set on a path to bend his instrument, the violin, to that music. At age 20 he came to the United States to Berklee College of Music to pursue jazz studies, graduating summa cum laude in 2003.
Mark Kelley has been the full-time bass chair with the Roots since 2011, a gig he landed after being asked to sub for Christian McBride in Questlove’s band Mo’ Meta Blues.
Music has been a constant element in Athena Koumis’s life since she began playing the violin when she was 4 years old. She has since performed and recorded with several orchestras and bands, and in college began DJing and producing music. “I felt that I needed to be more informed of what was going on in the industry and wanted to learn from experts in the field while widening my professional network.
Felipe Lara, the Brazilian-American composer praised by the New York Times and other critics for his brilliant modern music, rates collaboration with other musicians the most important aspect of his work. In an interview for Berklee, he said he is fortunate to have worked with some of the most talented groups and musicians, adding: “I consider these projects my biggest accomplishments, as opposed to awards, press, and such non-musical artifacts.”
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.
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.
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.
John Myung ‘86 studied bass guitar at Berklee and is best known as the bassist for the wildly popular progressive metal band Dream Theater.
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.