New Academic Leaders Roll Up Their Sleeves


Richard Carrick

Award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist Richard Carrick has been named chair of Berklee’s Composition Department. Carrick is a 2015-2016 Guggenheim fellow, and cofounder and artistic codirector of the contemporary music ensemble Either/Or. He succeeds Arnold Friedman, who served as the Composition Department chair since 2012. Friedman remains a faculty member.

Carrick recently moved to the Boston area after living in Kigali, Rwanda, on a Guggenheim Fellowship for musical composition. While there, he wrote a new arrangement of the country’s national anthem for the Rwandan Military Band. He recently premiered five works in New York, Boston, Tel Aviv, and Kigali. Additionally, Carrick has taught in South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, and Israel through the Very Young Composers Program, and returned to South Korea last year as a Gugak Korean Traditional Music Fellow. 

Carrick received his B.A. from Columbia University; Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego; and pursued further studies at IRCAM and the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. His latest recording, Cycles of Evolution, features pieces commissioned and performed by musicians of the New York Philharmonic, Either/Or, Sweden’s Ensemble Son, Hotel Elefant, and DZ4. Carrick conducts or performs on all works on the CD.

Music Therapy

Joy Allen began serving as the new chair of Music Therapy in August 2016. She took over the leadership role from the department’s founding chair, Suzanne Hanser, who has transitioned to become a full-time faculty member.

Joy Allen

Allen is an accomplished clinician, supervisor, researcher, teacher, and administrator with extensive experience working with medical patients focusing on psychological health, pain management, and the family system. She earned her Ph.D. and master of music therapy degrees from Temple University and her bachelor’s of music therapy degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. 

Allen has expertise in working with children, adolescents, and adults with mental health issues and is passionate about working with individuals and families facing chronic illnesses, including cancer. Her current research interests include quantitative analysis of the effects of music therapy on the psychological health of medical patients, guided imagery and music with medical patients, and medical music therapy theory development and efficacy. She has presented her clinical work and research at peer-reviewed events including regional, national, and international music therapy conferences. Prior to her appointment at Berklee, Allen was the coordinator of music therapy and an associate professor at Loyola University.

Allen has received awards and been cited for outstanding contributions to music therapy research from the American Music Therapy Association, Temple University, the Charleston Regional Business Journal and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina.

Film Scoring

Alison Plante is the new chair of the college’s Film Scoring Department. Plante is an award-winning composer with scoring credits ranging from documentaries for PBS and the History Channel to national TV ads, independent films, multimedia museum exhibits, and live theater. She is also the founder of her own scoring business, Treble Cove Music.

Alison Plante

Plante brings more than 16 years of experience as a composer, and 10 years as an educator to the job, having previously served as Berklee’s assistant and interim chair of film scoring from 2008 to 2015. She succeeds George S. Clinton, who had served as the department’s chair beginning in 2012.

In her new role, Plante will build on the 37-year legacy of Berklee’s film scoring program while pursuing several long- and short-term goals and initiatives. Among them are implementing a more globally focused curriculum to prepare students for successful careers in Hollywood, Bollywood, and other international hotspots; expanding Berklee’s video game scoring curriculum; promoting gender equality at Berklee and throughout the film industry by working with the student-run Women’s Film Initiative and through collaborations with Emerson College and the Alliance for Women Film Composers; and launching a new course with the GroundTruth Project that will pair film scoring majors with filmmakers.

Plante has received the Janet Gates Peckham International Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize. Plante studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Cambridge.

Global Initiatives

Matthew Nicholl has been appointed as the associate vice president of global initiatives at Berklee. He has served as the chair of the Contemporary Writing and Production Department since 2002 and as the executive director of the Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute (MMI) since 2013. Nicholl will also continue to serve as the executive director of the MMI.

Matthew Nicholl

As the associate vice president of global initiatives, Nicholl will expand the college’s presence as a global entity by providing continued coordination and support for future global outreach. He will continue to support students from across the globe by providing them with access to a Berklee education through the Berklee India Exchange, Berklee Latino, Berklee on the Road programs, and the Berklee International Network. Under Nicholl’s leadership, global initiatives will prioritize helping students find their own individual pathways to the college from different parts of the world.

Nicholl is an educator, author, and musician. His composing credits range from presidential campaigns to film scores and television shows.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Nicholl studied at the University of North Texas, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. He plays a variety of instruments, including piano, and has performed with such bands as the Otherguys and Con Clave. Nicholl has also recorded albums with the Dallas Brass, Eliot Wadopian, and Michael Farquharson. 

Nicholl has arranged and conducted music for live shows featuring Rosa Passos, Eva Ayllón, Issac Delgado, Luis Enrique, Larry Harlow, Jorge Drexler, Alejandro Sanz, Ivan Lins, Guinga, and Susana Baca. Nicholl has also released three albums and authored books on producing and arranging contemporary music.