Michael Bierylo

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For Michael Bierylo, teaching music synthesis at Berklee is just one component of an eclectic and highly creative career. From his Virtual Planet studio, he's completed film, video, and multimedia scores for clients like Hasbro Interactive, Nintendo, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, VH1, Martha Stewart Living, and Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. He's also a guitarist, composer, programmer, and sound designer for the uncategorizable new music avatars Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. His solo album, Life Line, earned four-and-a-half stars from the All Music Guide, and he's a voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

  • Career Highlights
    • Guitarist, composer, programmer, and sound designer in Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, with performances throughout the United States
    • Artist in residence at Dartmouth College, Emory University, and Duke University, among others
    • Album credits include Life Line as a solo artist, Dancing on A'A (Cuneiform Records), guitar and MIDI production on Sama Yie by Senegalese musician Ibrahima Camara, and music for the Sonoton Music Library
    • Owner and operator of Virtual Planet, a desktop audio studio, with clients such as Hasbro Interactive, Nintendo, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, and VH1, among others
    • Commercial music credits include scoring and sound design for The Box, Creatures in a Wood, and postproduction audio supervision for New Nation
  • Education
    • B.M., Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"I encourage creativity but [also] a firm understanding of technical and musical basics, a firm grounding. I also encourage openness to lots and lots of different styles of music. Perhaps the most important thing for electronic production and design majors to have is an insane curiosity and dedication to sound. They just have to love sound and love playing with sound. I want students to get really excited finding new sounds and manipulating new sounds, whether it's musical sounds or environmental sounds. Is this student really excited about sound, or do they just like synthesizers?"

"I developed an elective called Sound Design for Animation. It's one of the first that's actually a collaboration between Berklee and Massachusetts College of Art. Mass Art students studying animation pair off with Berklee students and collaborate on developing sound design for their projects."

"It's interesting to watch Berklee students negotiate with Mass Art students, not just about what the music and sound is going to be—there's also timetables and scheduling meetings and the whole idea of the interpersonal relationship you have. How do you talk to a visual artist? How do you listen to what he's saying and parse that into specific musical ideas? That's the kind of stuff I could go into a classroom and do a lecture on, but you really don't learn it until you start doing it with people."

"I would say to prospective music technology students: Learn all you can about music. Learn all you can about the rudiments, especially students who are working as DJs. Learn the keyboard. In electronic music there are a lot of ways to work with electronics and sound synthesis, but the musical typewriter is the keyboard, and the better you know the keyboard, the more of an advantage you will have once you get here."