Berklee's Spring Signature Concert Series

Liz Burg
November 9, 2010
Jorge Drexler takes the Berklee Performance Center stage on January 20, 2011.
Richard Smallwood performs at the BPC with Berklee's gospel choir on February 3, 2011.
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

The 2011 Berklee College of Music Signature Series announces a spring season that features Latin, gospel, country, bluegrass, and jazz. The series of concerts from January through April includes Jorge Drexler (January 20), Songs of Richard Smallwood (February 3), Great American Songbook: The Sounds of Nashville (February 27), Kathy Mattea (March 10), and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute with special guests (April 25). Many of the performances will feature Berklee faculty and students. 

Concerts take place at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Shows start at 8:15 p.m. For information on these and all other Berklee Performance Center concerts, call 617 747-2261 or visit The venue is wheelchair-accessible.

Tickets for the spring Signature Series go on sale November 12 at and at the Berklee Performance Center box office.

January 20—Jorge Drexler Meets Berklee

Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler matches a world music sensibility with the rhythms of his native Uruguay. Artists such as Mercedes Sosa, Shakira, Omara Portuondo, Maria Rita, Ana Belén, Victor Manuel, and Zélia Duncan have recorded on his songs. Drexler released his first album, La Luz Que Sabe Robar in 1992, the same year he earned a doctorate from the University of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. His albums have received a combined total of seven Grammy and Latin Grammy award nominations, and he's won two Spanish Music Prizes. Drexler became the first Uruguayan to win an Academy Award with Best Original Song "Al Otro Lado del Río," from the internationally acclaimed film The Motorcycle Diaries. Drexler's recent work includes the soundtrack for James Ivory's film The City of Your Final Destination. Jorge Drexler Meets Berklee is produced by Bass Department professor Oscar Stagnaro and arranged and conducted by Contemporary Writing and Production chair Matt Nicholl.

February 3—Songs of Richard Smallwood

Six-time Grammy Award–winner and Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Richard Smallwood will perform with Berklee's gospel choir, led by associate professor Dennis Montgomery III. Combining a talent for gospel with a love for r&b, pop, soul, and classical, Smallwood creates music that reflects his varied background as a classical pianist and gospel aficionado. After graduating cum laude from Howard University, the pianist, singer, music director, composer, and arranger released his first album, Richard Smallwood Singers (1982), which spent 87 weeks on Billboard's Gospel chart. Smallwood won his first Grammy for his production on the Quincy Jones's gospel project Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. Smallwood's music has been recorded by major artists including Destiny's Child, Yolanda Adams, and Karen Clark-Sheard. The concert is part of Berklee's Warrick L. Carter Lecture Series and will honor Smallwood for his contributions to gospel music. Dr. Teresa Hairston, publisher of Gospel Today and gospel archive donor to Berklee, will be the guest emcee. The concert is produced by Africana Studies students and faculty, led by Bill Banfield, director of Africana Studies.

February 27—Great American Songbook: The Sounds of Nashville

Berklee students and faculty will tell the story of the Nashville music scene through the songs of acclaimed American country artists like Jimmie Rodgers, Charley Pride, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Alan Jackson, and more. A full rhythm section with a string orchestra, woodwinds, and horns will accompany student and faculty vocalists. Great American Songbook: The Sounds of Nashville is produced by Berklee professor Ken Zambello.

March 10—Kathy Mattea Meets Berklee

Two-time Grammy Award–winning country and bluegrass singer Kathy Mattea is best known for blending folk, Celtic, and traditional country sounds with her music. Mattea, a repeat Country Music Association Award winner, has recorded 17 albums and has charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks charts. In 1986, Mattea released her breakthrough hit, a cover of Nanci Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" off her heavily folk-influenced album Walk the Way the Wind Blows. The same album yielded three other top-ten songs, and Mattea went on to release a myriad of other acclaimed singles and albums. Mattea's music has been covered by artists including Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, and Reba McEntire. In late 1988, Mattea's "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" became the first single by a solo female to spend multiple weeks at number one on the Billboard Country Singles chart since Dolly Parton's 1979 "You're the Only One." Kathy Mattea Meets Berklee is produced by Music Production and Engineering Department professor Stephen Webber, who co-hosts an annual student spring break trip to Nashville.

April 25—Berklee Global Jazz Institute First Anniversary Summit

Featuring performances by Danilo Pérez, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, and John Patitucci

The Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Pérez, is a unique focused area of study at the college where some of the finest young jazz players in the world concentrate on creativity and musicianship while maintaining an active performance schedule. The April 25 concert is a musical gathering of institute students and faculty to celebrate their first year, with performances by Danilo Perez; saxophonist Joe Lovano, jazz performance chair; drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, professor of percussion; and Grammy Award–winning double bassist and electric bassist John Patitucci.