The following post was written by Matt Glaser, artistic director for Berklee’s American Roots Music Program. Photographer Erin Prawoko provided the images.
Last Tuesday night at the Cantab Lounge there was an outpouring of love and grief for our dear, departed John McGann. The Boston acoustic music scene has become a very tight-knit community, with Berklee at its epicenter and John at the epicenter of the epicenter.
Matt Glaser and Bruce Molsky. Photo by Erin Prawoko.
I am further saddened this week to announce the death of another faculty member, Mirek Kocandrle. Known for his passion for rock and roll, he specialized in the literature and history of the genre. He not only wrote and taught about it, but also developed ensemble curriculum focusing on the music of artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He will be greatly missed by his peers and students.
Mirek was an old soul. He’d been around and seen a lot in his decades at Berklee. He demanded as much from his students as he demanded of himself, and he always had time for students. Continue reading
I am sad to announce the death of faculty member John McGann. His fine teaching and musicianship influenced many. I think the words of his students and colleagues capture this eloquently:
John was beyond category and beyond compare. He was like a garden of musical and human gifts. That garden is gone.
- Matt Glaser, Artistic Director, American Roots Program, Berklee College of Music
I’ve had the privilege of studying with John for the past two years at Berklee. We all knew that John was going through health issues for the last couple of weeks, but no one could have imagined this terrible news today.
John was one of the most amazing and knowledgeable musicians I have ever known. My private lessons with him were some of the deepest musical revelations I’ve had at a school where everyone is thinking about music all the time. Continue reading
Choral conductor Ken Greenhouse began teaching at Berklee in 1982, and went on to chair the Voice Department from 1984 to 1996 before moving to Atlanta in 1999. He passed away July 16. (Read the obituary.) Yumiko Matsuoka, now a Berklee professor, met Ken when she began studying at Berklee herself.
I came to Berklee wanting to learn how to write, especially in a cappella style. Because I was not a voice principal, one of the few options to sing was in Ken’s ensemble, the College Singers. Ken was a wonderful director and phenomenal accompanist. He was very demanding and always asked us to be our best. I also took his Vocal Group Arranging class (now Vocal Writing) where he taught all the basics that I now use in my own writing. I was fortunate to be asked to sing everyone’s projects in Ken’s class, and he also encouraged me to write for the ensemble. If it weren’t for Ken, my confidence as an a cappella arranger/composer may not have blossomed. It was also in the College Singers that I met some of those who became members of my a cappella quintet, Vox One. Continue reading
Retired faculty member Charles Chapman
Charles Chapman, jazz guitarist and retired member of Berklee’s Guitar Department, passed away in Maine on July 18. We asked some of his former colleagues and students to share their remembrances. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
Update: obituary in the Herald Gazette; family guestbook for condolences.
Mark Small ’73, editor of Berklee Today
I have many memories of Charlie. As fellow guitarists, we had a lot in common and had each studied with Bill Leavitt back in the day. He never tired of talking guitar stuff with his colleagues. Continue reading