Berklee Performance Center Announces Winter/Spring Season

Susan Scotti
January 20, 2017
Press release
Dhafer Youssef
Upper Structure, Berklee a cappella group
The Regiment Horns, Berklee alumni, to pay tribute to mentor Phil Wilson
The Doors
Tia Fuller
West Side Story poster
Five-time Grammy winning vocalist Dianne Reeves performs at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC) on Sunday, February 12.
Tunisia’s Dhafer Youssef, widely considered the most inventive oud player today, performs at the BPC on Friday, February 10.
The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) quarterfinals run through the BPC on February 4 and February 18. Competitors include Berklee a cappella groups Upper Structure (pictured) and Treble Threat.
The Regiment Horns have recorded with Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and others, and learned from Phil Wilson, longtime Berklee faculty member. On February 16, Sean Erick ‘06, Kevin Lloyd Williams Jr. ’03, and Leon Silva Jr. ‘07 return to pay tribute to Wilson.
The Great American Songbook: A Tribute to Laurel Canyon salutes the LA sound of the 1960s and '70s on February 26. Narrated by legendary photographer Henry Diltz, the concert features music by the Doors, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and more.
The music of Beyoncé comes to the BPC on March 2 when Queen Bey's original all-female band (many of whom are Berklee alumnae) reunites, led by Berklee's Tia Fuller (pictured), a professor in the Ensemble Department.
The timeless "West Side Story" is placed in a contemporary setting by Berklee's Musical Theater Club on February 22, bringing a classic American story into today’s society in all its pertinence with issues of class, race, immigration, and love.
India.Arie performs at Berklee's fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Series on February 3, joined by keynote speaker Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot to honor and renew the work and legacy of Dr. King.

Whether you’re nostalgic for the iconic American music that sprang from LA’s Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and ‘70s, need the pep of the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), or are summoned by the soul-jazz stylings of Dianne Reeves, the Berklee Performance Center (BPC) is proud to announce an exciting lineup for the new year.

The Signature Series at Berklee presents an incredible season of performances by Berklee students, faculty, alumni, and world-renowned musicians. The spring 2017 series includes Considering Matthew Shepard, a Grammy-nominated oratorio from Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson, who has studied with Berklee Online; a celebration of the music of Beyoncé featuring members of Queen Bey’s original all-female band; the innovative compositions of genre-spanning Armenian sensation Tigran Hamasyan; 1969 alumnus Howard Shore’s epic The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Six Movements; a celebration of black music in America; and the world premiere of a new musical inspired by the work of symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, The Kiss

All concerts take place at the BPC except for Considering Matthew Shepard and The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Six Movements, which will be held at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Upcoming Performances

The following is a list of select events for the upcoming winter/spring season. To see all events that are currently on sale, view the full schedule of BPC events.

Mogwai Play Atomic

Friday, January 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Atomic, the new album by Scottish experimental rock legends Mogwai, comprises reworked versions of the music recorded for the soundtrack to director Mark Cousins’s acclaimed documentary Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise, which first aired on the BBC last summer.

Constructed with archival film footage, Atomic is an impressionistic kaleidoscope of the horrors of our nuclear times—protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl, and Fukushima—but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how X-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives. Mogwai's soundtrack encapsulates the nightmare of the nuclear age, but its dreamlike qualities, too. It is the latest in the band's series of impressive soundtracks and scores, following acclaimed albums Les Revenants (The Returned) and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

2017 Berklee Chinese New Year Concert

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Open to all, the Chinese New Year Concert is an annual celebration among Chinese and other Asian populations at Berklee. A collaboration between the Chinese Student and Scholar Association and Bridge the Gap, this year's concert aims to connect cultures and musicians, and to bridge the cultural gap between Western and Eastern music. The development of Chinese music will be condensed into a 90-minute program, with unique arrangements of both Chinese folk songs and pop music, along with dance and other forms of performance, to show the audience a brand new perspective on China.

Songs in the Key of Life

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Stevie Wonder's legendary album Songs in the Key of Life will be performed by Berklee faculty member Tom Appleman and will feature alumni Jonathan Hoard and Desmond Scaife Jr. on vocals. Other featured faculty members include David Jiles on vocals, Thaddeus Hogarth on harmonica, Amy Bowles on keyboards, and Jeff Lockhart on guitar. 

Berklee Bob Marley Ensemble: Exodus Suite with Vivien Goldman

Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

The Berklee Bob Marley Ensemble will perform Marley’s Exodus album in its entirety, to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the album’s release. The evening will include special guest Vivien Goldman. Goldman is a writer, educator, broadcaster, and post-punk musician. As a pioneering female emerging from the ferment of Britain's 1970s punky reggae party, she has taken her can-do attitude and insights to journalism, books, radio, television, university teaching, multimedia lecturing, museum panel moderating, the recording studio, and the stage.

The brand-new Exodus Suite finds the Bob Marley Ensemble building on the success of a 2015 performance with Goldman, whose The Book of Exodus is the definitive work on the subject. The Berklee Bob Marley Ensemble is a 15-piece group of top Berklee students directed by associate professor Matt Jenson

The 2017 MLK Celebration: Mobilize, Educate, Elevate

Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Berklee’s fourth annual MLK Celebration Series will engage the Berklee community and the public in celebration and discussion of furthering the work of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This event aims to embolden activists and demonstrate what it means to mobilize, educate, and elevate the work suggested by the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Featured guest artist India.Arie, known for her abilities to heal and empower communities, will perform a short set of her incredible music. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot—Berklee trustee, Harvard professor, and prolific activist—will deliver the keynote address and share the stage with Bill Pierce, chair of Berklee’s Woodwinds Department, who will also perform. Following the performance, the Bill Pierce MLK Scholarship will be awarded to the 2017 recipient. All of this will be supported by the talents and leadership of Berklee students.

ICCA Northeast Quarterfinal: Night One

Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

The top collegiate a cappella groups from the Northeast region compete for the title of International Champions. The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) are the only global tournaments that showcase the art of student a cappella.

Maxim Lubarsky Collective

Monday, February 6, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

The music of Brazil and beyond will come to life alongside original material by Maxim Lubarsky, Berklee assistant professor of piano. Lubarsky will lead a piano trio with bass and drums and welcome special guests on saxophone, vocals, and percussion.

Black Lives Matter: Sankofa

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as "go back and get it," reflecting the common adage, "If we don't know our history, we are doomed to repeat it." Berklee’s Black Lives Matter concert series is student-curated, produced, and performed in an effort to educate, through words and music, on the historical, systemic, institutional, and socio-economic events of our time that have contributed to both the progress and disenfranchisement of people of the African diaspora. This year's concert will highlight vital periods in the history of struggles for liberation, set to a soundtrack of moving and motivational music, reflective of those times and the present day.

ShapeShifter Lab Orchestra

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Jazz, funk, world music, loops, polyrhythms, and high energy collide in this collaboration between bass player Matthew Garrison, ShapeShifter Lab founder, and Winnie Dahlgren, Berklee professor of harmony, who has arranged Garrison’s music for big band instrumentation.

Dhafer Youssef

Friday, February 10, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Presented by World Music/CRASHarts, find out why Tunisia’s Dhafer Youssef is widely considered the most inventive oud player today. In addition to being a consummate vocalist and prolific composer, he combines traditional Sufi music, world, and jazz influences with Arabic lyricism to create a spellbinding, sublime journey. Performing alongside piano, bass, and drums, Youssef makes his Boston debut, touring in support of his acclaimed new album, Diwan of Beauty and Odd. Said Couleurs Jazz, "We are betting that this pure musical creation becomes a reference point and enters the pantheon of classics.”

Dianne Reeves in Concert

Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Presented by World Music/CRASHarts, witness the work of a captivating world-class performer, Dianne Reeves ‘03H. A five-time Grammy winner, her magical and timeless voice, improvisational prowess, and unique soul-jazz stylings mark her as one of the world’s preeminent jazz vocalists. She will be joined by pianist Peter Martin, Romero Lubambo on guitar, Reginald Veal on bass, and Terreon Gully on drums.

Jazz Vocal Series: Faculty Night

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Faculty from Berklee’s Voice Department will perform a jazz repertoire from the Great American Songbook and other composers. They will be accompanied by a trio consisting of piano, bass, and drums.

A Tribute to Phil Wilson Featuring the Regiment Horns

Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Sean Jones, chair of Berklee’s Brass Department, will host the Regiment Horns, one of the most in-demand horn sections, in an evening of unforgettable music celebrating Phil Wilson, longtime faculty member, former conductor of the Berklee Rainbow Band, and supportive mentor to many Berklee brass students. The Regiment Horns are Sean Erick ‘06 (trumpet, flugelhorn), Kevin Lloyd Williams Jr. ’03 (flute, tuba, trombone), and Leon Silva Jr. ‘07 (saxophone). They have recorded with Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay, Solange Knowles, King, and more. They’ll be joined by Tia Fuller, professor of ensembles, and the Berklee Rainbow Band. 

Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly and George Featuring Adam Birnbaum and Cécile McLorin Salvant

Friday, February 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

As part of the Celebrity Series of Boston, timeless classics are elevated by modern masters when Aaron Diehl and Cécile McLorin Salvant revisit and revitalize the works of jazz piano greats George Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton. Combining lesser-known works with new arrangements of favorites, the project celebrates the past and traces a musical lineage that spans a century.

ICCA Northeast Quarterfinal: Night Two

Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

The top collegiate a cappella groups from the Northeast region compete for the title of International Champions. The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) are the only global tournaments that showcase the art of student a cappella.

West Side Story

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 and Thursday, February 23, 3017 at 7:30 p.m.

Berklee’s Musical Theater Club presents West Side Story, one of the most identifiable love stories of all time. Reflecting the musical and lyrical genius of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, the story revolves around two rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, and a budding romance caught in the crossfire. Featuring many famous musical numbers including "Maria," "I Feel Pretty," and "Tonight," this presentation of West Side Story incorporates a contemporary setting, bringing a classic American story into today’s society in all its pertinence to issues of class, race, immigration, and love.

The Great American Songbook: A Tribute to Laurel Canyon

Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, some of the most memorable and iconic American popular music was written by residents of Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. They made music together, wrote songs together, and created an indelible imprint on popular culture. The Great American Songbook pays tribute to the music of James Taylor H'95, the Doors, the Mamas and the Papas, the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, and more, showcasing the work of legendary photographer Henry Diltz, who will host and narrate the concert. The Great American Songbook Orchestra features Berklee's outstanding student vocalists, performers, and arrangers.

Faculty Singers Night

Monday, February 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Berklee’s Voice Department faculty members perform songs in jazz, R&B, and pop-rock styles, singing classic and original tunes, joined by an all-star rhythm section. Having graced stages around the world from China to Europe and throughout the U.S., this award-winning group of veteran singers has worked with some of popular music's favorite stars. 

Music of Michael Abene

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

This concert features the music of composer/arranger/pianist and artist-in-residence Michael Abene, performed by a large ensemble of some of Berklee’s finest soloists and ensemble players. Abene composed for Germany’s WDR Big Band for a decade and has arranged for artists including Paquito d’Rivera, John Scofield '73 H'97, Patti Austin H'00, Gary Burton '62 H'89, and Joe Lovano '72 H'98

Beyoncé’s Original All-Female Band: A 10-Year Anniversary Concert

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Beyoncé's original all-female band celebrates its 10-year anniversary at Berklee, led by Tia Fuller, a professor in the Ensemble Department. The band will include original members Nikki Glaspie '04 (drums), Rie Tsuji '02 (keyboard), Bibi McGill (guitar), Brittani Washington (piano), Divinity Roxx (bass), Katty Rodriguez (tenor saxophone), Crystal Torres (trumpet), Marcie Chapa (percussion), and students in Berklee's Beyoncé Ensemble. In addition, current Beyoncé dancer Ebony Williams '05 will choreograph and perform with students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee on select songs and current Beyoncé background vocalist Crissy Collins will perform with the ensemble.

The group will feature music members played while on tour, drawn from Beyoncé albums B'DayThe Beyoncé Experience, and I Am...Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas, and will also perform some of her newer material. Berklee alumnus Nikko Ielasi '15 is the musical arranger, and current Berklee student Josh Foster is the student musical director.

The BPC is located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Tickets are available at or at the BPC box office, or by calling 617-747-2261 for more information. Boston's Symphony Hall is located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue. Tickets are available at or by calling 888-266-1200. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.