Tibor Pusztai

Associate Professor
617 747-8156
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"When one teaches, one is not teaching subjects, but people. The things that I teach—primarily conducting and composition—are pretty esoteric and have to do very much with the development of self-confidence in the student. I bring the kids out of themselves, so that they can explore their own inner poetry. My task is to make my students understand that conducting, for instance, is the synthesis of all the various things that we study, such as history and harmony, and that the conductor is the galvanizer of all of this information when interpreting a score and seeing what the vision of a composer is. It's essential to teach this even if the student never conducts at all. For a business major, for instance, or a drummer, it might not be of great utility from a technical perspective, but from a conceptual perspective, certainly, it's very important."

"Music is very big, and I feel that all musicians should have a very broad appreciation of what music is about and not get stuck in a genre. If the students avail themselves of it, they have a very broad opportunity here at Berklee to experience a lot of different things. I find it very exciting how technologically advanced the school is, in terms of recording and synthesis and all the electronic gear. And also there is a faculty of very diverse people, and this is a place that understands and values that. As a teacher, one has to keep learning and broaden one's mind and be challenged, and this is a very cool place to do that."

"The orchestra has really become my instrument. I've worked with orchestras all over the world, and that's how I've made my living, besides being a composer. For me, one of the most valuable and interesting experiences was that I was appointed to the faculty at the New England Conservatory when I was 23. I was an assistant to Gunther Schuller, and that was an amazing experience in terms of my education and my development, to work next to such an extraordinary man, who is well-versed both in jazz and classical music, and the extraordinarily broad repertoire that we dealt with, from Renaissance to absolutely contemporary stuff. That informed and still informs my approach toward music-making and musicians. My emphasis has always been to train the complete musician. That's the way I've operated all my life."

Career Highlights
  • Music director, Manchester Symphony and Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra
  • President of Connecticut Composers, New Voices Productions, and the Studio of Electronic Music
  • Former conductor, Alvin Ailey Company, American Ballet Theater
  • Former associate conductor and composer-in-residence, Hartford Symphony Orchestra
  • Former faculty member, New England Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Tehran University, and Tanglewood
  • Recipient of Koussevitzky Composition Prize and ASCAP Award (Programming)
  • Numerous recordings