Don Gorder

Chair Emeritus
Affiliated Departments
music publishing/licensing

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Don Gorder, former chair and founder of the Music Business/Management Department at Berklee, is an attorney, educator, and musician. He holds advanced degrees in law and music, has authored numerous articles on the music industry, and has spoken at many national and international music industry events. As an attorney, he has represented clients in matters of copyright and contracts, and he remains active as a trumpet player in a variety of jazz and commercial settings.

Gorder is vice president of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Affiliated Music Business Institutions, a past officer and board member of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators' Association, and currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. He is active in the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and the International Association for Jazz Education, where he is a member of the resource team, representing music business/management.

Career Highlights
  • Retired from Berklee in 2021 with over 29 years of service
  • Private law practice, emphasizing copyright and entertainment contracts
  • Performances with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Carl Fontana, and others
  • Recordings for Kendor Music
  • Panelist/presenter at national and international music industry conferences
  • Author of numerous articles on music business
  • Resource team representative for music business/management panel, International Association of Jazz Educators
  • Former officer and board member, Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association
  • Member, board of trustees, for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Chair Emeritus, Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"All musicians need to know that music and business are symbiotic. Neither can exist successfully without the other. If music is to have an impact on society, the creative and business communities must learn to communicate with each other."

"A good manager frees musicians to do what they do best—create and make music—and also relieves musicians from handling the business matters that keep the career moving forward. Even those musicians who are blessed with good business sense often find that there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all well."

"Music Business/Management students fall into two general categories: those who want to work in the industry, whether corporate or as entrepreneurs; and those who want to remain wholly on the creative side, but recognize that a background in business is not only helpful, it's necessary."

"Two major goals have driven the development of the Music Business/Management Department: to offer a curriculum that addresses the current and future needs of our students and of the industry. And to attract faculty who are committed to the program and have the background and experience to deliver the curriculum."

"Berklee's core curriculum of harmony, ear training, etc., contributes to the music business/management major's lifelong enjoyment of music. No matter how far our students go in the business realm, being able to relate to music as musicians will add much to their lives. Personally, my musical experience has enhanced my understanding of the tension points in the art/commerce dichotomy, and how to soften the conflict."

"I like the environment at Berklee. It's a fast-paced music industry microcosm, full of interesting, talented people—students, faculty, and staff. In 15 years, I've never been bored."