American Roots Music Prize


Berklee students Jake Howard and Sarah Hubbard withMichael Eisenson

Last year, when Bill Haney learned of the support his longtime friend, Berklee trustee Michael Eisenson provides to Berklee’s American Roots Music Program, he decided to honor both his friend and the music he loves. With a gift intention of $150,000, Haney created the Eisenson Family Prize for American Roots Music at Berklee. The new endowed fund will provide for an annual visit by an outstanding roots musician to Berklee. While on campus, the artist will interact with members of the community via a master class and performance, and attend a ceremony for the prize presentation.

The selection criteria for the award will be determined by Matt Glaser, Berklee’s artistic director of the American Roots Music Program along with a small committee that includes Eisenson, among others. Glaser envisions bringing many greats to Berklee to receive the Eisenson Family Prize.

Haney, an environmental and technology entrepreneur, is the current CEO of Blu homes, a prefab modern home company. Eisenson is the managing director and CEO of Charlesbank Capital Partners. He has served on Berklee’s Board of Trustees since 2004.

Describing his motivation for establishing the prize, Haney says, “Michael is an American original who has constructed success from blocks of humble beginning, hard work, integrity, and wise choices. This prize honors musicians who also construct beauty from American clay. It will be hosted by Berklee—an institution that Michael loves. It’s led by Roger Brown, an American renaissance man committed to reaching into hollows, bayous, and urban corners to discover and elevate the finest musicians among us.”