Alumni Profiles

Alumni

Boston-based Iraqi/Jordanian violinist and composer Layth Sidiq has been featured on Latin Grammy–nominated albums and performed with some of the top people in the industry. His extraordinary skills and qualities got him a full scholarship to the master's degree program at the BGJI.

Alumni
Drummer; Percussionist
Class of 2004 (Professional Music, Percussion)

Drummer and percussionist Demian Arriaga was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. At age 19, he moved to Boston to attend Berklee, graduating in 2004. He has performed with a variety of musicians including Iggy Azalea, Richie Kotzen, and the Jonas Brothers, among others.

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
Guitarist; Songwriter
Class of 2009 (Guitar)

Nili Brosh was only 18 and a Berklee College of Music student when she shot to YouTube fame. In her 2007 video, she was practicing guitar in her family home in Newton, Massachusetts, playing a solo originally performed by her hero, Guthrie Govan. Two years and 120,000 views later, Brosh had attained a form of modern celebrity. She didn’t waver from her studies, though, graduating summa cum laude in 2009 even while she performed with the Nili Brosh Band in the Boston area.

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
Class of 1951
1951 Schillinger House graduate Eugene Carrescia

Gene Carrescia '51, a member of the first-ever graduating class of the Schillinger House, has been making music for over 70 years, including during World War II. 

The Backstory

Eugene Carrescia was born in 1925 in Massachusetts. His father, who made a living as a musician traveling across the country with circuses, started teaching him to play the trumpet at 10 years old. In high school, Carrescia was already playing in nightclubs as well as in his high school band as drum major.

Alumni
Pianist, Composer, Music Director, Conductor
Class of 2005 (Piano)

Cian McCarthy’s claim to fame may be that he was once the youngest conductor on Broadway, but his future is likely to hold many more accolades. This composer, conductor, music director, and pianist has had a hand in some of the most successful, award-winning Broadway shows of the past decade, including In the Heights, The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, and Hamilton.

Alumni
Music Production Team

Berklee alumni and brothers James Morales '06 and Matt Morales ’08, along with David Rodriguez, make up the production team the Elev3n, whose clients include Karmin, Sean Kingston, Meghan Trainor, and Jesse McCartney.

Alumni
Jazz Saxophonist
Class of 2011 (Woodwinds)

Hailey Niswanger’s trajectory as a jazz saxophonist resembles that of a shooting star. The young musician graduated in 2011 after studying jazz performance on a full scholarship. But by that time, she had already released the album, Confeddie, that prompted jazz critic Nat Hentoff to proclaim the 19 year old as part of the future of jazz. She had won a Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award in saxophone and played in a festival in Washington, D.C.

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
Trumpet Player; Arranger
Class of 2000 (Brass)

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.

Alumni
Jazz Percussionist
Class of 2004 (Percussion, Harmony)

Jazz percussionist and composer Marco Pacassoni has performed with Michel Camilo, Alex Acuna, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and Steve Smith, and is an educator and author in his native Italy.

Alumni
Songwriter
Class of 2001
Justin Tranter ’01

After bowing out of the spotlight as a lead singer for a behind-the-scenes role as a songwriter, Justin Tranter '01 has written many songs that have become fixtures on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Alumni, Staff
Artistic Director, Berklee India Exchange
Class of 2009
Annette Philip - dramatic frontal shot

Annette Philip is a musician, innovator, and influencer. A versatile vocalist hailing from Kerala, India, she is known for her dense choral arrangements, for concept-driven productions, and for delivering on big dreams. A seasoned recording and touring artist, composer, pianist, and voiceover professional, she's a judge and vocal consultant on the Emmy-winning American TV choral contest Sing That Thing! on WGBH (PBS).

Alumni
Composer
Class of 1970 (Film Scoring Department)
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.”

Pages