Alumni Affairs/See All BT IssuesBerklee Today Summer 2018

A Magazine for Contemporary Music and Musicians


The Liberal Arts Muse

By Patricia Peknik

Aristotle described the liberal arts as liberating because subjects like history, philosophy, science, and literature give students the freedom to think independently and ask complex, abstract, questions. We asked Berklee students to talk about how liberal arts classes have contributed to their...

Berklee Beat

Students Learn the Ropes at Major Music Festivals

By Margot Edwards

The summer is just beginning, but up-and-coming Berklee artists have already begun a series of appearances at music festivals across the United States and Canada.

The Family Grows by 1,082

By Mark Small

At May’s commencement ceremony, Larry Simpson, senior vice president for academic affairs/provost, told graduates that, with 1,082 members, they are the largest graduating class in Berklee’s history. They represent 72 countries with women making up 34 percent of the total.

Soundbreaking: Create Your Legacy at Berklee

By Beverly Tryon

The practice of planned giving (also called legacy giving) at Berklee and Boston Conservatory at Berklee is offering important scholarship support to young musicians. Planned gifts are made during estate planning with funds allocated at that time or at a future date.

Soundbreaking: Offering Hometown Support

By Jessica Halton

When provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Lawrence Simpson and his wife, Ann, established the Lawrence and Ann Simpson Endowed Scholarship in 2011, they directed their support to students of African-American or Latino descent who hail from their hometown of Cleveland, OH...

Soundbreaking: Alumni Pay It Forward at Career Jam 2018

By Stefanie Henning

The second annual Career Jam featured an impressive array of music industry luminaries offering expertise and guidance to students through panel presentations, workshops, master classes, auditions, and mentoring sessions.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee Celebrates 2018 Graduating Class

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee celebrated its 2018 graduating class in an afternoon commencement ceremony that welcomed Grammy Award–winning opera icon Victoria Livengood (a 1985 conservatory graduate) and Tony and Grammy Award–winning Broadway actor, singer, director, and activist Billy...

Longtime Colleagues Bid Farewell

By Gisele Ledan / Bruce Bennett / Mark Small

The spring 2018 semester marked the retirement of several longtime Berklee staff and faculty members who have contributed greatly to the institution.

Distinguished Alumni Reconnect

By Bryan Parys / Mark Small

The Office of Alumni Affairs recently honored eight alumni with Alumni Achievement Awards, bringing the group to campus for a day of reconnecting, networking, video shoots, a reception, and an awards ceremony.

Two Added to the Board of Trustees

Berklee’s Board of Trustees chair Susan Whitehead recently announced the addition of Robert S. Murley and Steve Ruchefsky to the board.

Julius Williams Takes the Baton at the BCSO

By Mark Small

Professor Julius Williams has been named as the music director and conductor of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra (BCSO).

The Woodshed

Why Lead Sheets?

By Jonathan Feist

Lead sheets are an abbreviated form of notation featuring just the essential musical information. Yet, in many contemporary music production scenarios, notation is commonly avoided—leading to miscommunication.

Expert Testimony

Expert Testimony

Jack Perricone, Berklee’s Songwriting Department chair emeritus, discusses the craft of songwriting with Mark Small.

Regional Spotlights

A Lasting Legacy

By Peter Gordon

As the latest in an annual series of fundraising concerts in Los Angeles, WesFest 13 was an amazing musical experience that took the spirit of celebration to new heights. WesFest raises funds for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee.

West Coast News

By Justine Taormino

There’s an app for almost everything, but when Sara Leib ’01 wanted an app that could support her students’ vocal training, nothing satisfied. So, Leib, a professional singer, educator, and founder and CEO of Voice Guru, LLC, created her own, called Voxercise.

Nashville Pros

By David Petrelli

When quizzed about what he’s learned in his life as a touring musician backing one of the biggest stars in country music today, bass player Travis Vance ’03 pauses. Then he offers a simple, yet sage piece of advice. “Always pack a towel,” he says.


Educating Artistic Citizens

By Dr. Bill Banfield

For music education to have lasting value, it must focus on fostering a committed work ethic among students and inspire them to strive for artistic excellence at every level. In my classes, I stress that music and the other arts are the repository of culture and shed light on the human...

Lead Sheet

The Benefits of Service-Learning

By Ellen Francese

Research confirms that active learning benefits students by allowing them to have a voice in the classroom and collaborate with others.

Faculty Highlights

by Mark Small

Larry Baione ’71, who has chaired the guitar department for 30 of his 44 years at Berklee, says becoming a guitarist was the luck of the draw.

Associate professor Teodros Kiros published the novel Cambridge Days, and published two articles in The Palgrave Handbook of African Philosophy.

Assistant professor Catherine Bent released Ideal, a cello-driven collection of original pieces paying tribute to Brazilian traditional music. Visit

Alumni News

by Mark Small

While at Berklee, Nils de Mol van Otterloo couldn’t have predicted the journey would take him from studio engineer to social worker to academia.

Greg Steele of Lee’s Summit, MO, is the senior video editor at KMBC-TV Kansas City and an independent ambient artist at GPS Productions.

Jazz guitarist Mordy Ferber of Englewood, NJ, produced two instructional videos on improvisation for his website. Visit