Ken Zambello

  • pop music
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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  • Career Highlights
    • Coordinator of the Yo Team, Berklee College of Music
    • Active performer on bass and vocals
    • Arranged for and performed with Jeffrey Osborne, Jennifer Holliday, and Christopher Guest
    • Arranged and conducted for honorary doctorate recipients who performed at special college concerts, including Steven Tyler, Chaka Khan, Gloria Estefan, and Phil Collins
    • Performances with the Coasters, the Belmonts, the Original Drifters, the Teenagers, and Frankie Ford, as well as various Legends shows
    • Composer and arranger in pop, rock, and Broadway idioms
    • Composer of, and producer for, various radio and television jingles, and station identifications
  • Education
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"I'm a professor in the Ensemble Department and the coordinator and musical director of special concerts and programs. I teach vocally oriented performance ensembles and also a couple of lecture classes. I like teaching both; it keeps me fresh. Also, stuff I do in the ensembles helps with the lecture classes, and the lecture classes give me ideas for the performing ensembles."

"I've been teaching History of Rock Music for close to 20 years. It's great for students to see similarities among the different eras of music. Plus it's gratifying to see how many kids know a lot of the older styles of rock. Sometimes I think I'm exposing students to something for the first time, but then I see them sing along, so they've definitely been hearing it somewhere."

"I pass along my experiences from a lot of different perspectives. I've been both a lead and a background vocalist, and play different instruments—bass, some acoustic guitar, piano, and tuba when I was younger. I've played different styles in different bands. I also write, arrange, and conduct. Having produced a lot of performances, as well, I can also pass on insights about working with the strengths and weaknesses of individual performers."

"In our ensembles, I have two hours to work with students, then meet with them again one week later. One of the things I've tried to stress with them is, 'Are we retaining what we learned last week, and improving upon it, or are we relearning it?' In the real world, somebody may give you something to learn in a day. So I work on being able to learn things fast, retain them, and present them in a professional manner in any performance situation."