Berklee Announces 2023 Fall Signature Series Lineup

This year's series will feature Elena Pinderhughes, Braxton Cook, Pavel Núñez, and the Pletenitsa Balkan Choir, as well as a career-spanning tribute to Madonna.

August 28, 2023

Berklee has announced its fall 2023 Signature Series lineup, with performances from a wide-ranging selection of students, faculty, and alumni, as well as special guest artists including Elena Pinderhughes, Braxton Cook, Pavel Núñez, and the Pletenitsa Balkan Choir. Running from October 11 through December 8, the concerts will highlight a global collective of Berklee talent, from the Middle Eastern Fusion and Berklee World Strings ensembles to dance faculty choreographers from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Elena Pinderhughes Berklee Septet

Red Room at Cafe 939
Wednesday, October 11, 7:00 p.m

Award-winning vocalist, flutist, composer, and songwriter Elena Pinderhughes will join a Berklee septet in a performance of select songs from her repertoire. A professional musician since age 9, Pinderhughes is regarded as one of the most exciting flutists active today. She blurs the lines between jazz, hip-hop, and R&B in a style that reflects her diverse musical upbringing and open-minded approach to music. Pinderhughes has toured, recorded, and collaborated with a vast range of artists, including Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, esperanza spalding B.M. ’05, Herbie Hancock ’86H, and Common. Matthew Stevens, assistant professor of ensembles, selected the student septet by audition.

Pablo Milanés Legacy

Berklee Performance Center
Thursday, November 9, 8:00 p.m.

Berklee will pay tribute to Pablo Milanés, a Cuban vocalist and guitarist renowned as a trailblazer in the nueva trova movement, which melded traditional folk music with poignant political lyrics. To honor Milanés's legacy, his pianist and longtime musical director Miguel Núñez, as well as singer-songwriter Pavel Núñez, will collaborate with a Berklee ensemble to perform Milanés's compositions, including "Yolanda" and "De Que Callada Manera," as rearranged by student composers. Milanés recorded over 40 albums and was revered throughout Latin America for his contributions to both music and social justice movements in the pivotal years following the Cuban revolution. Núñez arranged for and toured with Milanés in over 30 countries and produced a number of his albums. A four-time Latin Grammy nominee and an Emmy winner, Núñez is considered one of the most important artists from the Dominican Republic. He's worked with Juan Luis Guerra B.M. ’82, ’09H, Alejandro Sanz ’13H, Sting ’94H, and others. The concert is directed by Oscar Stagnaro, Matthew Nicholl, and Lee Abe.

Christiane Karam

Berklee professor Christiane Karam performs at the 2019 Middle Eastern Music Festival.

Middle Eastern Music Festival

Berklee Performance Center
Thursday, November 16, 8:00 p.m.

The Berklee Middle Eastern Festival brings together artists from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean with students from all over the world to learn about and experience the rich musical traditions of those regions. The annual concert, which will celebrate its 15th year of fostering music and intercultural exchange, showcases the diverse artistry of student performers, ensembles, dancers, and visual artists. The upcoming edition of the event will feature visiting artists from the early years of the festival, including the New York Gypsy All-Stars, as well as acclaimed Berklee ensembles such as the Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble and Berklee World Strings. The Pletenitsa Balkan Choir will also present the release of their debut album, Dreams. Founded and directed by Christiane Karam, professor of voice, past festivals have focused on classical Arabic, Mediterranean, Armenian, Persian, Balkan, and flamenco traditions and have included artists such as Pepe de Lucía, Javier Limón, Bassam Saba, Simon Shaheen, Binka Dobreva, Hüsnü Senlendiriçi, and Tigran Hamasyan. 

Braxton Cook Berklee Sextet

Red Room at Cafe 939
Wednesday, November 29, 7:00 p.m. 

The Signature Series welcomes home Boston native and Emmy Award–winning saxophonist Braxton Cook as he leads a Berklee sextet in a performance of selections from his song catalog. Dubbed a “jazz prodigy” by The Fader, Cook has a world-class command of multiple styles and an ability to merge elements from jazz, soul, and R&B into a distinct, refreshing sound that stands on its own. Besides releasing five projects under his own name, Cook has worked with Rihanna, Solange, Christian McBride, and Jon Batiste, as well as Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott B.M. ’04) and Berklee faculty member Marquis Hill. Matthew Stevens, assistant professor of ensembles, selected students for the sextet by audition.

Singers Showcase 40th Anniversary Special: Holiday—Four Decades of Madonna

Berklee Performance Center
Thursday, December 7, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, December 8, 8:00 p.m.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Singers Showcase—Berklee's longest running concert series—this interdisciplinary student production will pay homage to Madonna, one of the most influential figures in popular culture history. As the bestselling female recording artist of all time, Madonna continues to leave her mark on music, fashion, dance, music videos, film, activism, and humanitarian leadership. This two-night concert features Berklee vocalists, instrumentalists, arrangers, conductors, dancers, track producers, EDI artists, and visual designers, as well as choreographers from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. The student-led cast will share their eclectic blend of artistry through interpretations and arrangements of Madonna's greatest hits including “Express Yourself,” “Like a Virgin,” “Vogue,”  “Material Girl,“ “Like a Prayer,” “Open Your Heart,” “Holiday,” and more. The show will include special guests and cameos, as well as media from the Berklee archives, to highlight key elements of Singers Showcase’s 40-year history on campus. Over the last four decades, Singers Showcase has evolved into one of Berklee's most popular productions, boasting student performances from revered alumni Susan Tedeschi ’91, Paula Cole ’90, Lalah Hathaway ’90, ’22H, Jackie Foster ’18, Grace Kinstler, and Qveen Herby ’08. The concert is produced by Maureen McMullan ’09.

Tickets for Signature Series events go on sale Wednesday, August 30, at 1:00 p.m. and can be purchased online or in person at the Berklee Performance Center box office, located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. The box office is operating on reduced summer hours of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will resume regular-semester hours of Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5. If you have any questions about purchasing tickets, please email or call 617-747-2261.

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