Dream Theater’s Homecoming

Dream Theater - John Petrucci
Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci is pictured onstage at the Boston Opera House during the band's performance with the Berklee Concert Choir and Berklee World Strings.
Dave Green

A March 25 show at the Boston Opera House was a homecoming of sorts for the progressive metal band Dream Theater. The Grammy-nominated group has deep ties to Boston, which date back to 1985 when founding members John Petrucci ’86 (guitar), John Myung ’86 (bass), and Mike Portnoy ’86 (drums) formed the band’s core while students at Berklee. (When Portnoy left the group in 2010, former assistant professor Mike Mangini took over the drum chair.) 

A special attraction for the evening was the addition of the Berklee World Strings and Berklee Concert Choir for the concert’s second half. For Berklee student Eren Basbug, the event was a high-water mark. The 22-year old, who hails from Ankara, Turkey, conducted the orchestra and choir in arrangements he penned for the band. Basbug became known to the band after he posted performances of his orchestral arrangements of the band’s 42-minute suite “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” on YouTube. Impressed by the young musician’s work, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess contacted Basbug and asked him to write arrangements for his solo project Explorations for Keyboard and Orchestra. Basbug has since written orchestrations for “False Awakening Suite” and “Illumination Theory,” featured both on the band’s latest studio album and at the Opera House concert.

Dream Theater
Members of Dream Theater (upper left) and the audience applaud the orchestra and Berklee student Eren Basbug (upper right), who conducted his orchestrations of the band's music.
Dave Green

Frank Solomon, Dream Theater’s manager, said after the event, “I seriously believe last night was my most inspiring in 16 years of managing the band. Those [students] were so happy and played so well. I had tears in my eyes.”

Over the course of the band’s nearly three decades, Dream Theater has built a worldwide following and sold more than 10 million albums and DVDs. The Opera House show was recorded and will be released as a DVD by Eagle Rock Entertainment. A portion of the sales of the DVD will establish a scholarship in the name of Dream Theater at Berklee.