Presiden Muhl

President Erica Muhl

Image by Kelly Davidson

Erica Muhl, President

Erica Muhl, DMA, an accomplished conductor and composer, scholar, educator, and administrator, assumed the presidency of Berklee on July 1, 2021. 

Muhl joined Berklee following a distinguished 30-year career at the University of Southern California. A longtime tenured professor of composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, Muhl was tapped in 2012 to envision a new school at the university that would address the changing needs of 21st-century learners. The result was the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Since its launch in 2013, the academy has become widely recognized as one of the most innovative schools in higher education, celebrated for its unique, integrative educational model and remarkable student outcomes. As the academy's founding executive director and dean, Muhl developed the school’s vision, mission, and academic programs, positioning the academy at the intersection of the arts, technology, digital communications, and entrepreneurship, and forging new educational paradigms for the future. Her final project as dean resulted in a groundbreaking partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District to create the Iovine and Young Center, a design, technology, and entrepreneurship magnet that is providing a powerful secondary school alternative to students and families across the district through experiential, challenge-based learning.

For Muhl's full biography, visit the President's Page.

Kaitlin Passafaro

Kaitlin Passafaro, Chief of Staff

Before joining the Office of the President, Kaitlin Passafaro served as vice president in the Office of Community and Government Relations (CGR). In that role, she provided experienced leadership and insights for a number of strategic initiatives, including the advancement of Berklee’s Institutional Master Plan. Passafaro brings an extensive background in municipal, state, and federal government administration and leadership to Berklee. She was previously director of the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, where she served as senior advisor to former Boston mayors. As a member of the mayor’s cabinet, Passafaro gained critical experience in developing and implementing new policy, and led the process to create the City of Boston’s state and federal legislative agendas. Passafaro’s full bio is here.

Portrait of Melissa Howe

Melissa Howe, Assistant to the President

Melissa Howe comes to the Office of the President following many years on faculty and five years as chair of the String Department. As faculty, her mission was to guide each student toward self-discovery and technical mastery. As department chair, she supported several hundred students and their faculty. As chief of staff, she ensured that the mission and vision of Berklee played out everywhere in the daily life of the institution. As board liaison, she was responsible for the communications, coordination, and facilitation of the work done by Berklee’s Board of Trustees and Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), including working with the president and the chair to align the efforts of the board and PAC with the strategic priorities of the institution. Howe’s full bio is here.

Headshot of Margot Edwards

Margot Edwards, Associate Director, Communications

Margot Edwards has worked in the Office of the President since 2019. Prior to joining the OP, she worked in Berklee’s Office of Media Relations (OMR) since coming to Berklee in 2004. In OMR, Edwards oversaw the media strategy for the successful launches of Berklee NYC and the Berklee Popular Music Institute, among many other projects. She also oversaw the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN) beginning in 2016, and worked closely with Global Initiatives and Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, to increase visibility and align messaging in support of the enrollment strategy. Prior to Berklee, Edwards worked as talent buyer and manager at the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge and as a publicist at the music promotion company the Planetary Group in Boston.

Portrait of Ariane Blondin

Ariane Blondin, Assistant to the President

Prior to joining the Office of the President, Ariane Blondin was a senior executive assistant to five high-profile executives at State Street Global Advisors. She brings different perspectives from her various professional experiences: office manager for an artificial intelligence start-up, jack-of-all-trades in a small non-profit organization, preschool assistant teacher in a French bilingual program, and her first job out of college before crossing the Atlantic, export area manager for a French clothing brand. Blondin holds two MBAs from Université Grenoble Alpes in France (international audit and international commerce). She has lived on three continents and loves to attend live music events in her spare time.