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Signature Series presents

25 Tributes: Celebrating Lee Eliot Berk

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Event Dates
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

In honor of Lee Eliot Berk’s 25-year presidency and lifetime contributions to Berklee, this celebratory concert will feature 25 tributes from students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists.

During his term as Berklee's second president, Berk expanded the size of Berklee's urban campus, curricular offerings, international partnerships, inter-city outreach, and scholarship offerings, shaping contemporary music education, the music industry, and the arts. Alumni during his tenure have won hundreds of Grammy Awards, Latin Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, and more. Tonight's 25 tributes will be dedicated to personal stories, milestone achievements, and Berk's character and vision that helped lead Berklee to what it is today. 

One of the personal tributes will be directed by Edmar Colón '15 featuring Bill Pierce '72, Greg Hopkins, Kris Davis, John Lockwood, and Tyson Jackson '19. They will perform the music of Mike Gibbs '63, whose concert was the first date of Lee and Susan Berk. Terri Lyne Carrington '83 will perform in honor to the close relationship she has with the Lee and Susan. Grace Kelly '12 will lead another tribute performing music by Duke Ellington '71H, whose honorary doctorate performance Berk said was a highlight of his time at Berklee. Vice President and Executive Director of Berklee College of Music Ron Savage '84 will perform a personal tribute to Lee Eliot Berk. 

Other tributes will recognize academic department innovation while Lee Eliot Berk led Berklee. Boston Conservatory at Berklee student Elaina Spiro will be featured performing film scoring themes arranged by Tim Huling '98; student songwriter Kieran Rhodes will be featured performing original music; and guitar assistant chair Sheryl Bailey, and faculty Rick Peckham, Dave Fiuczynski, and Tim Miller will perform together in recognition of the Guitar Department’s important role in Berklee’s history.

The concert will also pay tribute to the expansion that happened while Lee Berk was president. The Berklee International Network was founded in 1993, and Assistant Vice President of Global Initiatives Jason Camelio and Yehuda Eder '80 will introduce a tribute featuring alumni Lihi Haruvi and Tom Oren. Lee Berk helped found the Boston Arts Academy. BAA alumnus Gregory Groover '15 will direct a group of BAA alumni, as well as feature Darcel Wilson in a Berklee Online tribute. Nichelle Mungo '97 will lead a tribute to Berklee City Music with alumni Kaimy Masse, Abria Smith, Tyrone Chase, Mark Copland, Chris Loftlin, and Sean Skeete and featuring Deanna DellaCioppa Colón

Friends and colleagues of Lee Eliot Berk and Berklee leaders will speak at the event. They will include former executive vice president Gary Burton; interim president and provost David Bogen; senior vice president of pre-college, online, and professional programs/co-founder and CEO of Berklee Online Debbie Cavalier; former senior vice president for innovation, strategy, and technology David Mash; founding headmaster of Boston Arts Academy Linda Nathan; chair emeritus of the Guitar Department Larry Baione; former associate vice president for community and government relations and executive director of city music Curtis Warner; and former Berklee president Roger H. Brown.

The celebration will conclude with one of Lee Eliot Berk’s favorite musical style, gospel. Gospel Ensemble director Dennis Montgomery '88 will feature Donna McElroy and the gospel ensemble founder Lisa Harrigan, along with his student band.