Berklee Announces 2019–2020 Signature Series

Highlights include Grammy winners Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aida Cuevas, and Zakir Hussain, who will receive an honorary doctorate.

August 21, 2019

The Signature Series at Berklee returns with performances by students, faculty, alumni, and world-renowned musicians. The 20192020 season includes concerts by Grammy-winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mexican vocalist Aida Cuevas, and internationally acclaimed classical tabla musician Zakir Hussain. Other highlights include Singers Showcase: A Night at the Opera—The Music of Queen, and a celebration of Charlie Parker’s centennial. 

All concerts take place at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, with the exception of Zakir Hussain Meets Berklee. Tickets are on sale now at, at the BPC box office, or by calling 617-747-2261. The BPC is a wheelchair-accessible venue.

Dee Dee Bridgewater Meets Berklee 

Wednesday, October 30, at 8:00 p.m.

Dee Dee Bridgewater is a Grammy winner, Tony winner, music producer, UN Goodwill Ambassador, and jazz vocal legend. Bridgewater’s career began in the 1970s as a featured vocalist with the fabled Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. Her creative road from this auspicious debut has led her to Broadway, a long-term creative residency in Paris, and a position at the forefront of jazz and gender justice. The scope of Bridgewater’s storied career will be explored in this concert featuring a performance with varied ensembles and musical settings. The concert is produced by Gabrielle Goodman, professor in the Voice Department, Terri Lyne Carrington, artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, and Phil Lima, assistant chair of the Voice Department.

Admission: $20 / $25 / $30 in advance; $25 / $30 / $35 day of show

Aida Cuevas Meets Berklee

Thursday, November 14, at 8:00 p.m.

Mexican vocalist Aida Cuevas, the “Queen of Ranchera Music,” has won a Grammy and a Latin Grammy for her work in the regional Mexican genre. Cuevas, who was the first female singer in the traditional mariachi genre to win a Grammy, possesses a voice and style that has helped her cultivate a successful career for more than four decades. Joined by a large Berklee student ensemble, Cuevas will perform popular ranchero music such as "El Pastor," "México en la Piel," and "Bésame Mucho"—all arranged by students. The concert is produced by faculty bassist Oscar Stagnaro and Matthew Nicholl, dean of the Professional Writing and Music Technology Division.

Admission: $10 / $15 in advance; $15 / $20 day of show

Zakir Hussain Meets Berklee

Friday, November 22

Berklee will honor the life and music of Ustad Zakir Hussain, the prolific Grammy-winning tabla virtuoso, by presenting him with an honorary doctorate for his immense contribution to the global music community. The evening’s concert will feature an international cast of students and faculty performing original compositions as well as new interpretations of Hussain’s timeless music with the maestro himself. Produced by Berklee India Exchange. This concert will take place at Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School. Ticket information will be announced closer to the event. 

Singers Showcase: A Night at the Opera—The Music of Queen

Thursday, December 5, at 8:00 p.m.

In celebration of the enduring appeal of Queen, one of rock’s most influential bands, prepare for a glittering night of stomping, fearlessly eclectic rock anthems and harmony-steeped, melodramatic piano ballads. Produced by Maureen McMullan, the concert will feature some of Berklee’s most outstanding lead vocalists and special guests interpreting the band’s rich catalog filled with musical virtuosity, operatic dynamics, and theatricality. The singers will be accompanied by an equally impressive roster of instrumentalists, dancers, and visual artists drawn from our global and diverse artistic community. The repertoire will include “We Will Rock You,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Killer Queen,” and “Somebody to Love.”

Admission: $15 / $20 in advance; $20 / $25 day of show

Berklee Global Jazz Institute Celebrates Charlie Parker

Friday, December 13, at 8:00 p.m.

The Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) celebrates Charlie Parker's centennial, presenting new arrangements and music from Bird's repertoire. This celebration will feature orchestrations by Bill Dobbins, professor of jazz at Eastman School of Music, featuring Danilo Pérez, BGJI artistic director; Joe Lovano, the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance; Marco Pignataro, BGJI managing director; faculty member Patricia Pérez; BGJI students; and guest artists. The concert is produced by Danilo Pérez and Marco Pignataro. 

Admission: $10 / $15 in advance; $15 / $20 day of show 

Great American Songbook—Nu Vintage Pop: Today's Hits, Time Traveled

Sunday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m.

Inspired by the retro-hip joie de vivre of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox and its “gramophone music in a smartphone world” philosophy, join an eclectic and global cast of Berklee vocalists, instrumentalists, arrangers, and dancers as they reimagine and perform modern-day pop songs in jazz and retro styles, including ragtime, dixieland, swing, big band, doo-wop, and Motown. Marrying 21st-century melodies with the sonic warmth and sass of a vintage 78 rpm record, prepare to be transported back in time with our makeover of hit songs by contemporary artists such as John Legend, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, and Rihanna. From sumptuous street corner harmonies and hot Harlem Stride piano to the bump and sway of jitterbug dancers, expect a reverent and unabashedly feel-good evening that will appeal to people of all ages. Pork pie hats, zoot suits, spats, and victory roll hairstyles are encouraged. The concert is produced by Maureen McMullan.

Admission: $15 / $20 in advance; $20 / $25 day of show

The Coming: Black History Month Celebration

Thursday, February 27, at 8:00 p.m.

In celebration of Black History Month, we commemorate 400 years since the first Africans were brought to Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. This musical narrative features excerpts with Daniel Black from his book The Coming, along with compositions from Tia Fuller’s Grammy-nominated album, Diamond Cut, and performances by the Rainbow All-Stars Ensemble on the rich traditions and more contemporary portrayals of the African diaspora, firmly depicting the unrighteous capture and journey of the transatlantic slave trade. The Coming has been described as “lyrical, poetic, and hypnotizing, telling the story of a people's capture and sojourn from their homeland across the Middle Passage—a traumatic trip that exposed the strength and resolve of the African spirit.” Through the music direction of Fuller and the prose of Black, they will pay homage to the diverse cultures of Africa and the evolution of African American music.

Admission: $10 / $15 in advance; $15 / $20 day of show

The Show

Thursday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m.

In this concert spanning many genres and styles, musical director Rob Lewis '94 (Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block, Toni Braxton) presents Berklee students at their best, highlighting their talent and passion through popular music.

Admission: $10 / $15 in advance; $15 / $20 day of show

Singers Showcase: Bond...James Bond: Theme Songs

Thursday, April 9, at 8:00 p.m.

While fans eagerly await the release of No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond movie, prepare to be shaken and stirred as Berklee’s most outstanding lead vocalists pay tribute to novelist Ian Fleming’s immortal and debonair Secret Intelligence Service agent, 007. Produced by Maureen McMullan, the concert will feature a full rhythm section, horns, strings, background vocalists, dancers, and special guests, all of whom will interpret the stylistically diverse canon of Bond theme songs from more than 50 years of the franchise. Through musical arrangements served straight up and with a twist, relive Monty Norman’s signature Bond theme and iconic hits made famous by legends Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Tina Turner, and Alicia Keys, to name but a few. And, for one night only, don’t miss your chance to hear the world premiere of the winning song entry from our exclusive James Bond academic competition. Hosted by Berklee Presents, in collaboration with the college’s Songwriting and Film Scoring departments, students received a mission briefing to compose the “next” James Bond theme song. Befitting a spy, expect an evening filled with fun, elegance, and thrills.

Admission: $15 / $20 in advance; $20 / $25 day of show 

Berklee Middle Eastern Festival: Tigran Hamasyan Trio Meets Pletenitsa

Tuesday, April 28, at 8:00 p.m.

The Berklee Middle Eastern Festival is a celebrated annual event that brings together guest artists from the region, as well as community musicians, students, visual artists, and dancers from all over the world to celebrate the music of the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Mediterranean. In this edition, festival founder and associate professor Christiane Karam and the Pletenitsa Balkan Choir will perform in a stunning collaboration with celebrated Armenian pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan and his trio. Known for melding jazz, folk, progressive rock, and classical forms, Hamasyan has established himself as one of the most innovative artists today. The concert is produced by Karam.

Admission: $15 / $20 in advance; $20 / $25 day of show