Ensemble Faculty

Dennis Montgomery

Professor, Ensemble

"In a biblical context, the word gospel means 'good news.' Whether people come to listen or to join in and sing, people naturally want to spread good news. "

Nancy Morris

Professor, Ensemble
nmorris@berklee.edu | 617 747-8427

"I love seeing students accomplishing things that they didn't even think were possible, seeing them grow as part of a group, and especially seeing them become a leader within the group. That's really important to me."

Bruce Nifong

Professor, Ensemble
bnifong@berklee.edu | 617 747-2491

"Every student has this gift within them, but they may have difficulty expressing their gift. So, starting with the idea that students need help finding that mode of expression, we help them connect with teachers who really have a passion for helping the students find their inner voice."

Jason Palmer

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
jrpalmer@berklee.edu | 617 747-6164

"A lot of students just don't know about the competitions and commissions that are available to them. It's all career-building, and I feel like it's one of my duties to let them know."

Marcello Pellitteri

Professor, Ensemble

"What I find exciting about teaching is the challenge of having people in class with different individual cultures, personalities, backgrounds, needs, and aspirations speak the same language in an ensemble."

Annette Philip

Artistic Manager of Berklee India Exchange, Voice
Also affiliated with: Berklee India Exchange, Ensemble
aphilip@berklee.edu | 617 747-6152

"I think in all music that's what we're trying to encourage our students to do, to surrender and be totally present in the moment."

John Pierce

Professor, Ensemble
jpierce@berklee.edu | 617 747-8319

"Success in an ear training class will make them far more successful as harmony students, as arranging students, and as performers."

Nedelka Prescod

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
nprescod@berklee.edu | 617 747-6380

"Ultimately everything we need in terms of our music is about soul and about spirit. Use that, I tell my students, and make the music with that."

Bruno Raberg

Professor, Ensemble
braberg@berklee.edu | 617 747-8430

"The hallmark of a good bassist is knowing the foundation of both your own instrument and the music—understanding your own playing but also the role of your instrument within a group, how to interact and listen. In my teaching I make sure to cover all those aspects."

Dave Samuels

Associate Professor, Ensemble
dsamuels@berklee.edu | 617 747-8283

"My priority as a teacher is to help students unlock their own goals and aspirations."

David Santoro

Professor, Ensemble
dsantoro@berklee.edu | 617 747-8440

Ron Savage

Chair, Ensemble
rsavage@berklee.edu | 617 747-8416

"I like the challenges and rewards of successfully helping young people make music happen."

Gilson Schachnik

Associate Professor, Ear Training
Also affiliated with: Ensemble
gschachnik@berklee.edu | 617 747-8406

"How do we make ear training relevant, instead of being some academic or abstract course that students have to take, but don't understand why."

Robert Schlink

Associate Professor, Ensemble
rschlink@berklee.edu | 617 747-8343

"I tell my students that the best thing to say when somebody asks you if you play this kind of music is yes, because then you can get the gig."

Sean K. Skeete

Assistant Chair, Ensemble
sskeete@berklee.edu | 617 747-2994

"I want some feeling, some attitude, some life experience in their playing. That's what makes music music."

Skip Smith

Associate Professor, Ensemble
ssmith@berklee.edu | 617 747-8535

"The attitude I have is that I don't know everything, especially teaching contemporary music. In a sense, I'm learning from the students, too, because they bring in tunes by groups that I've never heard of."

Lenny Stallworth

Associate Professor, Ensemble
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses)

"We all have a destiny, and I try to make students realize that each of them is an individual unique unto itself and you don't have to run anyone else's race. Sometimes I get students that are overwhelmed because there are so many great players at Berklee. So I just try to connect the fact that if we can find the one unique part abut us, that's what's gonna make you separate from the masses. The upside is that we all have something to contribute. No matter what. I think each student has something that the world can only get from that particular student. It's up to that student to, with integrity, work and develop that skill to bring it to fruition."

Ed Tomassi

Professor, Ensemble
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses)
etomassi@berklee.edu | 617 747-8383

"I teach a lot of things by ear—improvisation concepts, balancing solos, different harmonic and melodic concepts. There is a key to teaching improvisation. There are five elements: melody, harmony, form, rhythm, and color. Out of those five elements, I teach different concepts, so the students get a well-balanced diet of solos, so it doesn't sound like they're just concentrating on one element. Some students are more crafted in certain areas, in form or harmony. They may need more melody or more color. It all depends on the individual."

Marty Walsh

Assistant Professor, Ensemble
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses)
mwalsh1@berklee.edu | 617 747-8688

"In my MP&E classes, I try to look at many of the small details of production that otherwise would have a tendency to go unnoticed. In my ensembles, I like to be 'part specific.' I look at how the drums and bass are interacting. I look at how the harmonic instruments are interacting. Are they playing in appropriate registers? Are the parts complementing or fighting each other? Once we get the tune up and running, the players have more liberty to embellish their parts—within the framework of the tune. The song comes first. All improvisational ideas are drawn from the song."

Larry Watson

Professor, Ensemble
lwatson@berklee.edu | 617 747-8478

"A good ensemble player is one who embraces the African philosophical perspective that says, 'I am because we are.' It is not about you. It is about how you connect to the community, and together you produce art that is collaborative, loving, and socially just"

Dave Weigert

Professor, Ensemble
dweigert@berklee.edu | 617 747-2347

"Attitude can have a huge impact on the speed at which we learn. A dangerous attitude is when a student labels and oversimplifies a musical concept and dismisses it too easily because the term might not sound impressive."

Diane Wernick

Associate Professor, Ensemble
dwernick@berklee.edu | 617 747-2995

"Playing an instrument is a social experience, so playing in an ensemble setting really allows you to express yourself within a community of musicians."

Carolyn Wilkins

Professor, Ensemble
cwilkins@berklee.edu | 617 747-8333

"In a Berklee ensemble, you get to play with the same group of people for 15 weeks in a guided situation in which you're continually being monitored and mentored. We all go out and play gigs on our own. I do that myself, and that's one level of learning. But the kind of feedback that you get from being in the ensemble can help you see the things that you do well, don't do well, and how you can improve them. It's an educational experience, not just jamming and getting together."

Ken Zambello

Professor, Ensemble
kzambello@berklee.edu | 617 747-2256

"One of the things I've tried to stress with the students is, 'Are we retaining what we learned last week, and improving upon it, or are we relearning it?'"