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Erini Tornesaki

Assistant Professor

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Vocalist and educator Erini Tornesaki (aka "Erini") grew up in a musical family on the island of Crete, Greece. She played the piano and cello and performed with the municipality of Heraklion’s string orchestra and choir. As a descendant of Greek-Anatolian refugees, Tornesaki's mother introduced her to the Greek-Anatolian musical tradition. Tornesaki studied contemporary vocals at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music at age 18. As the only vocalist for the show Kurios by Cirque Du Soleil in 2014, Tornesaki toured for three years, performing a total of 1,074 shows. Going on to complete a master's degree at the Berklee Global Jazz Institute paved new paths of experimentation for her, as she redefined the constraints of genre and birthed a new sound combining Greek traditional music with genres such as jazz, pop, and classical music. 

Tornesaki has had the opportunity to showcase her musical heritage at Carnegie Hall and WOMEX 2023 and has collaborated with artists such as Danilo Pérez, Daniel Hope, and Terri Lyne Carrington. She sang on the album Crisálida by Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2023. Based in New York City, she is also an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music and has presented workshops and lectures of Greek traditional music at universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Tufts, among others. In recognition of her efforts to preserve Greek-Anatolian culture, Tornesaki has been awarded the Greek America Foundation’s 40 under 40 Award and the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Traditional Arts Fellowship.

Career Highlights
  • Performed with Cirque Du Soleil, Danilo Pérez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Daniel Hope, Ara Dinkjian, and Jorge Glem.
  • Performed at Carnegie Hall, TD Garden, Savannah Music Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, and London Jazz Festival.
  • Worked with the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Greek National Opera, the Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations.
  • Grammy–nominated participations: Crisálida by Danilo Pérez feat. The Global Messengers nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album, 65th Grammy Awards; Fronteras (Borders) Suite: Al-Musafir Blues by Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers nominated for Best Instrumental Composition, 65th Grammy Awards; Waiting Game by Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, 63rd Grammy Awards
  • Forty Under 40 Award, Greek America Foundation (2022)
  • Traditional Arts Fellowship, Massachusetts Cultural Council (2022)
  • Live Arts Grant, Boston Foundation (2020 and 2022)
  • Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship, Berklee College of Music (2021)
  • School Name
    Berklee College of Music
    State or Province
    Master of Music (M.M.)
    Field of Study
    Contemporary Performance - Global Jazz
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    British & Irish Institute of Modern Music (Accredited by Sussex University)
    United Kingdom
    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
    Field of Study
    Professional Music
    Date Degree Received
In Their Own Words

"I would like to encourage my students to use the power of music to impact the world positively."