Berklee Announces 2021 Spring Signature Series
The Signature Series at Berklee returns for the 2021 spring season, as Berklee students, faculty, alumni, and industry professionals come together for special virtual performances. This season's performances celebrate Black History Month, Carole King’s seminal album Tapestry, and Berklee College of Music’s 75th anniversary. Running from February 26 through the end of the spring semester, all concerts will be released on YouTube Live at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Friday, February 26, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee's Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Black History Celebration Committee present a virtual performance celebrating Black artists, reflecting on Black history while moving towards an empowered future. Ensemble Department and Dance Division faculty Tia Fuller, Ralph Peterson, Mila Thigpen, Ruka White, and Val Jeanty will draw inspiration from gospel, soul, jazz, and dance, showcasing the talents of Berklee's Black student community.
Hosted by Simone A. Francis and Prince Charles Alexander, this event will educate, heal, and empower through words, dance, and music. Audience members are invited to attend this free virtual performance featuring the Black artists of today and tomorrow.
Sunday, March 7, 7:30 p.m.
The 2021 Great American Songbook concert will pay tribute to Carole King’s monumental and universally beloved album Tapestry, which turns 50 this year. Produced by Maureen McMullan ’09, the virtual concert will feature some of Berklee’s most outstanding vocalists, instrumentalists, arrangers, track producers, engineers, and special guests. Tapestry is considered one of the greatest singer-songwriter albums of all time. With over 25 million copies sold, it was also a commercial and critical success, staying at no. 1 for 15 straight weeks and winning four Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”), Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”), and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.
Tapestry made King a star in 1971, but she had already been a hugely successful staff songwriter for more than a decade, during the famed Brill Building era, with her former husband, Gerry Goffin. At only 28 years old, King wrote or cowrote all of the songs on Tapestry, several of which had already been hits for other artists, such as the Shirelles’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” Tapestry became a soundtrack to many people’s lives while helping to launch the singer-songwriter movement of the early ’70s, inspiring and influencing a generation of writers then and now.
Thursday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.
Timeless celebrates Berklee College of Music’s 75th anniversary in a late-night show format with alumni hosts Shea Rose B.M. ’11 and Simone Scazzocchio B.M. ’10. A faculty house band will take the audience through the musical history of this celebrated institution with alumni, faculty, and staff guests. A curated student band will also perform during the evening. Audience members are invited to attend this free virtual celebration with stories, music, and familiar faces from Berklee’s 75 years.
Thursday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.
Berklee College of Music’s 75th anniversary celebration continues with a special edition of Singers Showcase, featuring some of Berklee’s most outstanding vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, arrangers, track producers, and engineers. To curate music for the concert, members of the Berklee community were invited to submit their favorite songs from 1945 to 2021, with the resulting repertoire tracing many musical eras, genres, and artists. Join us for a retrospective and present-day glimpse into the deep and diverse well of popular music that has graced our stages, filled our practice rooms, and topped our digital playlists.
Produced by Maureen McMullan ’09, the virtual concert will feature a full rhythm section, horns, strings, background vocalists, and special guests. The compilation of songs will begin with “Sentimental Journey,” the biggest hit from 1945, the year Lawrence Berk founded Schillinger House (now Berklee). As the show moves through the decades, the Singers Showcase will feature students and faculty providing commentary—as well as rare photos and ephemera from the Berklee Archive—to highlight key elements of our 75-year history.
Thursday, April 22, 7:30 p.m.
Founded in 1945 as the Schillinger House and renamed in 1954 as Berklee School of Music, Berklee already had an international reputation. In 1955, established musicians Toshiko Akiyoshi ’59 and Arif Mardin ’61 came to the school from Japan and Turkey to be surrounded by a community of musicians teaching and performing the popular music of the day. Since then, Berklee’s footprint has broadened with the launch of Berklee Online, the addition of Boston Conservatory to the larger Berklee institution, the opening of campuses in New York City and Valencia, Spain, and the establishment of a center in Abu Dhabi. Students from every continent have studied at Berklee and are part of a global artistic community.
Diamond Jubilee celebrates Berklee's 75th anniversary with a virtual performance from each area of the institution. Students, alumni, and faculty will share their talents as performers, producers, writers, designers, and artists.