Berklee’s Encore Gala Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Colette Greenstein
October 2, 2019
Press release

The landmark event will feature Chaka Khan, Grandmaster Flash, Livingston Taylor, and Twisted Pine, along with more than 150 faculty, alumni, and student musicians.

Chaka Khan
Grandmaster Flash
Livingston Taylor
Image courtesy of the artist
Image courtesy of the artist
Image courtesy of the artist

Berklee’s Encore Gala celebrates its 25th anniversary on Saturday, October 26, at 6:00 p.m., at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, located at 110 Huntington Avenue in Boston. The event features Grammy Award–winning singer Chaka Khan, who will perform this year’s Starlight Finale, along with hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash, renowned singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor, string trio Twisted Pine, and more.

The evening will include a cocktail reception, dinner, and a silent auction, as well as more than 150 faculty, alumni, and student musicians performing genres spanning hip-hop, R&B, jazz, electronic, and roots.

Proceeds from the event will support Berklee City Music®, an educational outreach program that leverages the power of contemporary music to support youth from underserved communities to develop musically, academically, socially, and emotionally. Since its founding in 1993, City Music has fostered a supportive and collaborative community for tens of thousands of young people to thrive and become confident, well-rounded individuals.

Chaka Khan '04H

Chaka Khan, who received an honorary doctorate from Berklee in 2004, is a 10-time Grammy winner who has released 22 albums, earned 10 No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts, seven RIAA-certified gold singles, and 10 RIAA-certified gold and platinum albums during her more than 40-year career. Known for her classic songs “Tell Me Something Good,” “Ain’t Nobody,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “I Feel For You,” Khan has performed in a variety of genres, from R&B/soul to pop, rock, jazz, and gospel. Revered by fans and peers alike, the singer has collaborated with a who’s who of musicians, including Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Prince, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, and George Benson. 

Grandmaster Flash

South Bronx native and one of hip-hop’s original innovators, Grandmaster Flash, brings his masterful turntabling skills to the hip-hop and R&B mixtape room. In the earliest days of the genre, he manipulated music by placing his fingers on the vinyl, perfected beat looping, and discovered many of the iconic beats still commonly sampled today. It’s no surprise that the New York Times calls him “hip-hop’s first virtuoso.”

Livingston Taylor

Composer Livingston Taylor, who has taught a stage performance course at Berklee since 1989, will perform in the Roots and Branches room. With a career spanning 50 years and encompassing performance, songwriting, and teaching, the musician picked up his first guitar at age 13. The fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate, and Hugh, Taylor recorded his first record at 18 and has continued to craft introspective and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide. His Top 40 hits include “I Will Be in Love with You,” “I’ll Come Running,” and “I Can Dream of You.”

Twisted Pine

Praised by NPR for their “upbeat, poppy vibe; energetic, driving rhythms” and “virtuosic solos,” the acclaimed string band Twisted Pine is also slated to perform. Steeped in traditional music, the bands three members are also fearless, tuneful improvisers and passionate lovers of pop. Winners of the 2018 Boston Music Award’s Americana Artist of the Year, Twisted Pine has played major events from Grey Fox to DelFest to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and beyond.

Participants making the Encore Gala possible include cochairs and sponsors Jim and Judy O’Brien and David and Lori Sprows; copresenting sponsors Bain Capital Community Partnership and Abrams Capital; and colead sponsors Aramark Education and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. 

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