Kari Juusela

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Kari Henrik Juusela is a Finnish-American composer, performer, and educator who is dean of the Professional Writing and Music Technology Division at Berklee College of Music.

In addition to writing music in styles ranging from pop to contemporary classical, he enjoys playing and recording the cello, bass, guitar, piano, table, and the Finnish kantele. His compositions have won numerous awards from such organizations as the Vienna State Opera, the International Trumpet Guild, the London Chamber Music Society, the Composer’s Guild, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He has also won the International Red Stick Composition Competition, the American Songwriting Awards Contest, the San Francisco Art Song Competition, and the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Contest.

Juusela's works have been performed at many important venues, including Carnegie and Tchaikovsky Hall by internationally acclaimed ensembles and performers, as well as by numerous rock, pop, and jazz groups.

He is the author of more than 20 college-level courses and is the author of the Berklee Contemporary Dictionary of Music.

Juusela holds degrees from the University of Maryland, Georgia State University, and Berklee College of Music. His music is published by ISG Publications, MuusJuus Music, and Yelton Rhodes Music, and is recorded on ERM, Beauport Classical, Lakeside Records, Capstone Records, and MuusJuus Music.

  • Career Highlights
    • Compositions published by ISG Publications, Yelton Rhodes Music, Throckmorton Press, and KARD Music
    • Compositions recorded on Capstone Records, Lakeside Records, University of Maryland Recordings, Trutone Records, and Stetson University Press
    • Composition performances and commissions by the CORE Ensemble, Jacksonville Symphony, Cellobration, Vienna State Opera, Stephen Robinson, David Bjella, Beth Newdome, Boyd Jones, Nandkishor Muley, Cuartetto Latinoamericano, London Chamber Group, and many professional, university, and college ensembles
    • Bass and cello performances with Ictus, Jerry Tachoir Quartet, Dan Matrazzo Quartet, Nandkishor Muley, V. K. Raman, Panaiotis, Orlando Philharmonic, Florida Space Coast Symphony, and the Brevard Symphony
    • Region IV cochair and National Council member, Society of Composers; board of directors member, Asian Cultural Association
    • Former associate dean of composition at Stetson University; former teacher at Montgomery College, American University, University of Maryland, and Frederick Community College
    • Former director of the Stetson Digital Art Ensemble and Stetson New Music Ensemble
  • Awards
    • Award from the Vienna International Full-Length Opera Competition
    • Award from International Red Stick Composition Competition
    • Award from London Chamber Group’s Piece of the Year Competition
    • Award from San Francisco American Art Song Competition
    • Award from National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Competition
    • Award from GASTA String Quartet Composition Competition
    • Award from Composers Guild Composition Contest,
    • Award from Alienor Harpsichord Composition Contest
    • Award from ASCAP
    • Award from Stetson University
    • Award from Florida Council for the Arts
    • Award from Jacksonville Symphony
  • Education
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music
    • M.M., Georgia State University
    • D.M.A., University of Maryland

In Their Own Words

"Professional Writing has to do with all the music that is composed. We try to encompass all the styles that are happening today, all the way from contemporary classical to hip-hop. Although we work with older music, our focus is on what's happening now—which keeps us on our toes. There's been a real blending of musical styles, and Berklee is a perfect place to do that because we have so many faculty experts in all these areas."

"Another component of what we do is prepare every student in the college with music writing and analysis. The Harmony Department is here, and every student has to take four semesters at least, and most will end up taking Writing Skills or Arranging. It's really kind of the foundation for all the musicians here."

"Technology is a huge part of what we do. To be successful, you have to be savvy with technology. If you're a film scorer, you're expected to present a high-quality demo just to get the gig. They want it to sound like the real thing or very close. Songwriting, same thing. The better your demo, the better your chance of getting heard. That's why a large part of the curriculum in all the writing degrees is learning the applications, all the way from composition software to sequencer programs to synthesis programs, so students can create and edit their own sounds."