Read what some film scoring graduates and other professional composers have to say about Berklee's film scoring program.
"Berklee gave me the tools, the knowledge, and the gift of being surrounded by like-minded, passionate musicians that gave me the foundation to build my career on and to pursue my dreams. I’ll forever be grateful for all I’ve learned and experienced at Berklee."
—Pinar Toprak B.M. '00
Pinar Toprak is an Emmy-nominated composer and rising star in Hollywood. She scored the smash hit Fortnite video game as well as the blockbuster Captain Marvel—both of which grossed more than 1 billion dollars worldwide.
"In the last decade, I've noticed that the assistants I keep hiring are graduates of Berklee’s film scoring program. They seem to be incredibly well-educated technically, understand the process from top to bottom, and haven’t lost their individuality as writers. Excellent focus and work ethic, and maybe most important, a great attitude: I’ve seen these fine attributes in almost every Berklee grad I've interacted with."
Mychael Danna is an Oscar- and Golden Globe–winning composer for Life of Pi. He has also composed the scores to such films as Onward, Little Miss Sunshine, Monsoon Wedding, Moneyball, The Addams Family, and many others.
"Aspiring composers with a technology-forward approach to media music will find a committed partner in Berklee College of Music's film scoring program. There's nowhere else in the world like it."
—Geoff Zanelli B.M. '96
Geoff Zanelli has been one of Hans Zimmer's most important musical collaborators and an insider on Zimmer's scoring team for the past 20 years. His music can be heard on all of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and he’s the main composer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. He has also scored Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie, and Christopher Robin, starring Ewan McGregor.
"The film scoring master's degree program at Berklee Valencia created an intense, but incredible learning environment, not only being taught by top composers I admired, but being surrounded by passionate, like-minded musicians from all corners of the world. It broadened my musical perspective and gave me the tools, particularly the technology tools, to move to L.A. and start my own career."
—Amie Doherty '14
Amie Doherty is a composer and orchestrator based in Los Angeles. She has scored films for Amazon Prime, Dreamworks, and Focus Features. Her orchestrations include the TV series Star Trek: Discovery, Legion, The Act, Shadowhunters, and Extant, among many others.
"Without a doubt, Berklee’s film scoring program offers one of the most well-rounded educations in film, TV, and video game music. Berklee grads dominate the industry, and it’s for a very good reason."
—Richard Ludlow B.M. '14
Richard Ludlow is the founder and co-owner of Hexany Audio, one of the video game industry’s leading music and sound production companies. Hexany Audio is best known for video games such as League of Legends, Call of Duty Mobile, Star Trek: Dark Remnant, Honor of Kings, and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. In 2019, he was listed on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
"The Berklee Film Scoring Department gave me the opportunity to find my voice while learning classical training, contemporary technique, and technical implementation. Modern film scoring relies on these diverse disciplines, and Berklee is the place to master them."
—Gregory Tripi B.M. '05
Gregory Tripi composes for the ABC television series The Fix and Manhunt: Unabomber (Discovery/Netflix), and collaborated with composer Cliff Martinez on The Knick (Cinemax). He has also written additional music for Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, and Contagion, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
"Berklee College of Music’s film scoring program gave me the tools I needed to grow from an instinctive, but untrained aspiring composer into a disciplined and well-rounded writer, orchestrator, arranger, and conductor. Add to that the music editing and mixing skills they also offered me, and I arrived in L.A. after graduation qualified to enter the world of film music as a professional."
—Joe Kraemer B.M. '93
Joe Kraemer has had a long and successful career in Hollywood. He is best known for his scores to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Jack Reacher, both starring Tom Cruise. He has also scored films such as The Way of the Gun, starring Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe, and continues to be an in-demand Hollywood composer.
"I can’t think of a better program that would have prepared me to score visual media than that of Berklee’s Film Scoring Department. Learning the craft of composing to visuals with cutting-edge technology, practical experience, and wearing many creative hats, combined with the vast connections of the department, make it the best jumping-off point to a successful career."
—Vanessa Garde '10
Vanessa Garde has had many roles in the film industry such as composer, orchestrator, score mixer, and synth programmer. Her work can be heard on such productions as The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Cold Light of Day, The Raven, and many more.
"Before entering the film scoring program at Berklee in Boston, I didn't even know what I didn't know. I didn't even know what the term MIDI meant. They gave me the strong foundation I needed to build a high-level skill set in the film scoring industry. Will you learn every single thing you need to know to be a successful composer? No, but the motivated student will be well set up to succeed in the competitive landscape of media composition. My education there served as a springboard to high-level work that gave me essential on-the-ground experience in the industry. Berklee is at the top of the film scoring education game for a reason."
—Jessica Rae Huber B.M. '12
Jessica Rae Huber is a film and television composer who has written music for hundreds of episodes of television, feature films, production libraries, trailers, and podcasts. Her work can be heard on shows such as The Walking Dead, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander, and Black Sails.
“The Berklee Film Scoring Department is the perfect mix of professional insight, expertise, and mentorship. Graduates from the program are well-versed in modern-day technology and traditional music education, preparing them for anything the industry may throw at them."
—Joey Newman B.M. '98
Joey Newman is a successful Emmy-nominated Hollywood composer with many credits to his name. He is best known for the TV series The Middle (Warner Bros.), Earth to Ned (Disney+), All Rise (CBS), and Diary of a Future President (CBS).
"Beginning my professional music career by studying at Berklee College of Music was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. From the education, resources, and breadth of opportunity as a student, to the lifelong relationships and indelible memories I formed, there’s simply no comparable music institution in the world that I know of, and I couldn’t recommend my alma mater Berklee College of Music highly enough to all musicians."
—Ryan Shore B.M. '96
Ryan Shore is a two-time Emmy Award– and Grammy Award–nominated composer, songwriter, music director, and conductor for film, television, virtual reality, games, records, concerts, events, and theater. He is best known from his scores for the Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures animated series, the Scooby-Doo! films, the Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, and the feature film Prime, starring Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep.
"I knew Berklee was the right school for me from the first time I stepped foot inside its doors. The tools and skills I acquired within the Film Scoring Department are ones that I still reference on a daily basis on each film I work on."
—Matthew Margeson B.M. '02
Matthew Margeson is best known for his score to the Elton John biopic Rocketman. In addition, he has scored Kingsman: The Secret Service, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth, and Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, starring Evan Green and Samuel L. Jackson.
"I wouldn’t be the musician or the composer I am today without the education I received from Berklee College of Music, to be honest. I was exposed to so many new facets of music, performance, composition, technology, new styles, and things I just hadn’t heard before going there. I learned all the rules so I could break them later if needed, but it was so helpful to have that foundation when I started scoring for live orchestras and needed to be fast and flexible stylistically as a composer. Even the piano 'chops' I gained there in the performance program while finishing the songwriting major (before completing the film scoring major) have served me so well over the years. I spoke at USC a couple years ago, and it was so much fun to be able to look back and share about those Berklee years and having such a wonderful, meaningful, joyful depth of experience."
—Bill Brown B.M. '91
Bill Brown is best known for scoring the hit CBS television series CSI: NY as well as AAA video game titles such as Wolfenstein, Lineage II, Captain America: Super Soldier, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, and others. His film scores include The Devil’s Tomb, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Desiree, and Southland.
"To this day, I still find myself calling upon the core skills that I learned in the Film Scoring Department many years ago whenever I sit down to write or orchestrate. The foundations that I needed to succeed—melody, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, technology, aesthetics—were all instilled in me from day one."
—Kevin Kleisch '92
Kevin Kliesch got his start in Hollywood as an orchestrator, taking composers’ music and accurately transferring it to the score page for the orchestra, where he polished and enhanced it. His orchestrations include Antman, Frozen, X-Men, Tangled, and Beauty and the Beast. He has since successfully transitioned to becoming a composer, and his music can be heard in the television series Thundercats, Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and Sunny Days.