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James Donahue

Associate Professor
Faculty Bio E-Mail

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Career Highlights
  • Projects as engineer include Modern Fairy Tales, Courtney Miller (2015); 1930s Violin Concertos, Volume 1, Gil Shaham (2014); Handel's Messiah, Handel and Haydn Society (2013); A Suo Amico: Music from the Repertoire of Domenico Dragonetti and Robert Lindley, Querelle des Bouffons (2012); and Chopin: The Mazurkas, Russell Sherman (2012), among many others
  • Author of paper on work with University of Southern California's Integrated Media Systems Center on the acoustics of Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki and how it relates to the music of the period
  • Instruments include Uilleann pipes and keyboard
  • Continued studies at Boston Conservatory of Music in the opera program, Cornell University in music composition and history, Harvard University Extension School, and Berklee College of Music in mastering and Pro Tools
  • Private lessons with Thomas Dunn, Bruce Humphrey, Tomlinson Holman, and Chris Kyriakakis
  • B.A., Ithaca College
In Their Own Words

"I believe in team-based learning where we all learn by doing the exercises together. It's about discovery and learning what motivates you to do what you do. My classes require a lot of student participation and tend to be very busy and full of energy."

"I want my students to be curious about everything and to quickly get beyond the intimidation of the equipment in order to reveal the artist within. Berklee is a great place to experiment and to learn. I'm excited about working at Berklee and teaching the talented and diverse group of men and women it attracts from around the world. The faculty is very generous, and I'm inspired by all they do. The facilities are also amazing. I love being able to record and teach in an analogue studio one day and then the next teach and mix in a contemporary digital palace. It is a fantastic environment in which to make music."

"Part of my job is to open doors and introduce students to new ideas and situations. I have a strong classical music background, but I have also spent years recording and broadcasting everything from Aerosmith to Zemlinsky. I also worked with Julia Child and Kermit the Frog while at PBS and spent 23 years as the broadcast engineer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It's nice to be able to walk students down to Symphony Hall and introduce them to an amazing orchestra in a beautiful venue or talk about your experiences recording and broadcasting with an eclectic array of musicians. Presenting real-life examples helps to cement what is learned in class."

"My greatest teachers were my mentors. Thomas Dunn introduced me to the lives of many musicians as well as taught me conducting, score reading, and historical pronunciation practices. Bruce Humphrey at Harvard University walked me through the early stages of recording. Tomlinson Holman inspired me to get into the business and continues to inspire, as does Chris Kyriakakis of the University of Southern California, who invited me on a 10+ year play date with the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. It's been a grand adventure and continues to be so."

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