Ron Savage Named Executive Director of Berklee College of Music
Ron Savage has been named the inaugural executive director of Berklee College of Music. Savage, who graduated from the college in 1984, previously served as dean of the Professional Performance Division (PPD), where he championed successful initiatives on hiring diversity, new curriculum development, and student recruitment. He is also the chair and cofounder of the Black Scholars Initiative (BSI).
“Ron has distinguished himself over a nearly 30-year career at Berklee, making him uniquely qualified for this position,” said Berklee President Erica Muhl. “Ron will be instrumental in promoting the importance of music, arts entrepreneurship, and arts and technology education as a tool to help foster a more just world, promote the growth and development of young people, and articulate the ideals and heritage of our cultural resources.”
Savage will report to David Bogen, Berklee’s executive vice president and provost, and will have responsibility for oversight and direction of all academic programs, facilities, operations, and faculty and staff for the college’s three divisions. He will join Berklee's core leadership team, which is involved in formulating strategy across the entire organization. This includes the development of new models for education, new academic programs, career development efforts, student success, community outreach to aspiring musicians in underserved communities, and more.
"I am humbled and honored to serve as the first-ever executive director at Berklee College of Music, my alma mater,” said Savage. “My Berklee education provided me with the foundation to accomplish my childhood dreams, establish a successful career, and become a productive, contributing member of my community. I look forward to working with President Erica Muhl, Provost David Bogen, and our entire ‘village’ of educators to ensure current and future generations of aspiring musicians have the necessary skills to pursue their creative artistry for life."
Prior to becoming dean of PPD, Savage served as chair of the Ensemble Department for 17 years. In that role, he significantly increased the musical diversity of Berklee’s ensemble offerings to include acoustic blues, neo-soul, women in rock, heavy metal, dub reggae, and more.
An acclaimed drummer with a special focus on jazz and blues, Savage has performed in 48 U.S. states and 46 countries around the world with a wide array of artists, including James Moody, Clark Terry, Curtis Fuller, Mulgrew Miller, and Nnenna Freelon. He also has extensive professional experience in television, theater, studio recording, film, and music therapy. A passionate community advocate and leader, he received the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Community Service Award from the NAACP chapter of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2018. He serves as president of the All Dorchester Sports and Leadership program and as a board member for the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. Additionally, he founded the Cambridge Jazz Foundation, the Johnny Hodges Scholarship Fund, and the Ron Savage Music Academy, which provides underserved youth with affordable music instruction and instruments.
Savage assumed his new role on November 1.