Roberto Toscano

Composer
Class of 
2006
Alumni

Great results sometimes come through serendipitous meetings. The success of contemporary composer Roberto Toscano might be traced to an introduction to late Berklee professor Vuk Kulenovic when Toscano was a Berklee student. After that, the young Brazilian changed his direction from guitar to composing, studying intensely with Kulenovic.

Toscano, who graduated from Berklee in 2006, won the prestigious 2010 Toru Takemitsu Composition Award in Japan. His works have been performed in Eastern and Western Europe, the United States, and Brazil as well as Japan. He credits Kulenovic's inspiration and guidance at Berklee with giving him the impetus to pursue composing, saying that “his time and support were invaluable to me.”

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1982, Toscano began studying music in his teens after taking up electric guitar. He came to Berklee in 2002, and after changing his musical path, he worked with Kulenovic several times a week. “I discovered the music of (contemporary composers) Ligeti, Scelsi, and Grisey," he says. "It was an intense experience to absorb so much new music so quickly.” 

Toscano, who is currently studying for his doctorate under a Dean’s Fellowship at Columbia University and is about to start his dissertation, also spent several years at Duke University doing interdisciplinary research into art history and philosophy. Having recently moved to Miami, Florida, he is now finishing a new string quartet and chamber opera that is projected to premiere in 2018. Some of his recent works are "MOUTH" for narrator and chamber ensemble, and "...the formless also a typology" for asynchronous sextet.

Toscano continues to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to his career, including work in economics and distributed systems as well as composing music; he also runs an arts foundation and is pursuing other projects. All of these activities, he says, “seem to push ideas forward in a way I find very valuable and rewarding.”