Berklee Announces 2016 Signature Series at Berklee

Liz Lupton
December 3, 2015
Press release
Donna McElroy performs at the Berklee Performance Center in 2013.
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Berklee Performance Center in 2011.
Danilo Pérez performs for students in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in 2013.
Donna McElroy performs at the Berklee Performance Center in 2013.
Esperanza Spalding performs at the Berklee Performance Center in 2011.
Danilo Pérez performs for students in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in 2013.
Photo by Dave Green
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Kelly Davidson

The 2016 winter and spring Signature Series at Berklee will go on sale on Monday, December 7, 2015. The Signature Series at Berklee features performances by world-renowned musicians, Berklee students, faculty, and alumni.

The first half of the 2016 Signature Series at Berklee, a curated set of Berklee-produced performances that embrace the college's global community and Boston's diverse musical tastes, features Hal Crook with Esperanza Spalding ’05; the Fisk Jubilee Singers with Berklee faculty member and Fisk alumna Donna McElroy and narration by former governor Deval Patrick; the music of Bob Dylan; and a performance by the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, led by Danilo Pérez.

All Signature Series at Berklee performances, except for the tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers, take place at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC). The BPC is located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Purchase tickets at, by calling 617-747-2261, or at the box office. Discounts are available on advance sales. To see all upcoming concerts at the Berklee Performance Center, visit

The Fisk Jubilee Singers tribute takes place on February 21 at Symphony Hall, located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Purchase tickets at or by calling 888-266-1200. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.

More information about the first half of Berklee’s 2016 Signature Series at Berklee is below.

The Music of Hal Crook: Set Me Free

February 18, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center

Trombonist, Berklee graduate, and Berklee professor Hal Crook ‘71 will perform his compositions with Berklee alumna, vocalist, and bassist Esperanza Spalding ’05, alumnus and pianist Leo Genovese ‘03, alumnus and saxophonist Chris Cheek ‘91, and other special guests. The concert will also include Crook’s pop-jazz band Behind These Eyes. Crook’s compositions and arrangements will be heard in traditional, contemporary, free, and pop-jazz styles.

View more information and tickets.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers at Symphony Hall: A Tribute

February 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Symphony Hall

Organized in 1871, the renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers have played an important role in introducing and sustaining the tradition of the Negro spiritual and black American religious music to the world. That music created the paradigm later followed by blues, jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop, and the many other styles of music derived from the African cultural diaspora in the United States, permanently altering the course of the world’s music. Composed of Fisk University students annually selected for the quality and compatibility of their voices, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest artistic honor, in 2008.

Berklee College of Music is pleased to collaborate on a program to pay tribute to this towering music and social achievement, as well as to participate in the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Fisk University’s founding in 1866. This special evening of uniquely impactful music at Boston’s historic Symphony Hall will feature the singers’ traditional repertoire, directed by Paul Kwami, Fisk professor, with guest appearances by Berklee students and faculty, led by Donna McElroy, a Fisk alumna and former Jubilee singer, with the Berklee Jubilee Celebration Orchestra, conducted by Julius Williams. The performance will also feature narration by former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, author, Berklee board of trustees member, and Harvard professor. 

View more information and tickets.

Great American Songbook: The Music of Bob Dylan

February 28, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center

Bob Dylan’s career began in the early 1960s with songs that chronicled the significant social issues of the time. Inspired by traditional folk music, Dylan brought his piercing and poetic lyrics to songs such as “Hard Rain” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” reflecting the tension and unrest of the civil rights and anti-war movements. His songs of protest and turmoil spoke to an entire generation, creating an explosive mixture that turned Dylan into a cultural and political icon before sold-out concert halls around the world. Dylan was the voice of his generation, and electrified the world when he famously “plugged in” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963.

Over his decades-long career, Dylan has produced 500 songs and more than 40 albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and “Like a Rolling Stone” was named by Rolling Stone magazine as the number one song of all time. On February 28, Berklee students and faculty will pay tribute to Dylan’s prolific career by performing new arrangements of Dylan’s most memorable and influential songs.

View more information and tickets.

Berklee Global Jazz Summit

April 1, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center

Grammy award-winning pianist, Berklee graduate, and Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) artistic director Danilo Pérez ’88 leads BGJI students in the annual Global Jazz Summit. Logging performances with jazz luminaries like Wayne Shorter, Adam Cruz, and Brian Blade on prestigious stages, including the Blue Note and the Kennedy Center, the BGJI is designed to help instrumentalists and vocalists with unique talent and wide-ranging musical interests achieve their artistic goals through an experiential and interdisciplinary approach. Developing artists who seek to evolve to the highest levels as both musicians and human beings find a home in the BGJI environment, which provides both the support and range of challenges necessary for sustained creative growth.

View more information and tickets.

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