Berklee Honors Woodwind Chair Emeritus Bill Pierce

By 
Tori Donahue
September 6, 2018
Press release
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Bill Pierce, renowned saxophonist, will join musicians including Kevin Eubanks, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Javon Jackson in a Signature Series performance on September 26. 

The Art of the Tenor: Celebrating Bill Pierce will be held at the Berklee Performance Center on Wednesday, September 26.
Image courtesy of Bill Pierce.

Berklee will celebrate Bill Pierce B.M. ’73, Woodwind Department chair emeritus and renowned saxophonist, in a spirited Signature Series performance at the Berklee Performance Center on Wednesday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. After graduating from Berklee, Pierce performed and recorded with a host of musical luminaries, including Stevie Wonder, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, James Williams, Hank Jones, Art Blakey, Branford Marsalis, and Wynton Marsalis. He joined the faculty in 1975 while continuing to play extensively at major jazz festivals and performance venues throughout the world.

The Art of the Tenor: Celebrating Bill Pierce will feature his former students Javon Jackson B.M. ‘87, Mark Turner B.M. ‘90, Antonio Hart B.M. ‘91, and Melissa Aldana B.M. ’09. Pierce will lead part of the concert with long-time collaborators Kevin Eubanks ’79, ‘05H on guitar, Jake Sherman B.M. ‘13 on organ, and event producer Terri Lyne Carrington B.M. ’83, ‘03H on drums, along with a host of special guests to pay tribute to his significant contributions to music. The program will include the music of Art Blakey, Tony Williams, and other artists, along with a selection of Pierce’s original music. The performance will kick off the festivities around the annual Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 29.

“In the early ’90s, long before I had any formal affiliation with Berklee, I went to see the amazing Tony Williams,” said Berklee President Roger H. Brown. “He was thunderously playing those yellow drums, but what really caught my ear that night was Bill Pierce on the saxophone. I remember the thrill I had when I assumed the presidency, realizing he was the chair of the woodwind department at Berklee. That someone of his brilliance and stature, just one degree of separation from Art Blakey and Stevie Wonder, would be my colleague and the teacher of our students gave me enormous pride.”

Tickets for The Art of the Tenor: Celebrating Bill Pierce will be $20, $25, and $30 in advance, and $25, $30, and $35 on the day of the performance; they are available online and at Berklee Performance Center box office.

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