Ensemble Faculty

Ron Mahdi

Associate Professor, Ensemble
rmahdi@berklee.edu | 617-747-8267

"Everyone’s got their own ethnic identity. So bring those spices and put them in the soup—not to overpower the soup, but something that, when someone hears it, they can taste the oregano or the hot sauce and say, ‘Yeah, that’s in there.'"

Alain Mallet

Associate Professor, Ensemble
amallet@berklee.edu | 617-747-2942

"Our own curiosity gives us the power to discover things for ourselves—to address musical issues as problems to solve instead of always approaching them as something to learn."

Lello Molinari

Professor, Ensemble
lmolinari@berklee.edu | 617-747-8239

"Music is a journey without an arrival point, so we have to enjoy the trip."

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."

John Paul

Instructor, Ensemble
jpaul1@berklee.edu | 617 747-6377

"Keeping my students interested, informed, and inspired is key. In turn, I expect students to contribute stylistically, to be organized, enthusiastic, and responsible. It is my hope that their experience with me helps to provide them with the necessary tools for a rich and spirited musical life after college. One of my favorite quotes is, 'You can’t create a career for someone without talent and you can’t stop a career for someone who has it.'"

 

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."

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