Chicago native Kenn Brass served as chair and assistant chair of Berklee's Professional Music Department for 26 years from 1988 to 2014. Now he has set his sights on the classroom. Brass has been involved extensively in various musical settings, embracing a myriad of traditional and contemporary musical styles. A trumpeter by trade, he has performed with groups and individuals the world over, including Nancy Wilson, Mitzi Gaynor, the O’Jays, the Temptations, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, to name a few. He continues to perform regularly in the New England area as coleader of the band Enfusion.
While at Berklee, Brass has fulfilled a longtime commitment with the Five-Week Summer Performance Program in addition to being an adjunct professor at nearby Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has also served on various area advisory boards in conjunction with working with a number of community-based organizations with an arts-centered focus.
''The students at Berklee are an inspiration to me. I think of them all as individuals, as my own. I try to get to know them. I know just about all of our 380 professional music majors."
"In all the other majors at the college, the academic department determines all the required and elective courses. But professional music students literally dance to their own drummer, their own beat. These are people who tend to want to do things their own way. In the Professional Music Department, the students choose their course of study with close guidance. That self-directed approach appeals to a large number of students here. We're the third largest major at Berklee."
"There's a wide range of courses and faculty to choose from at Berklee, and we encourage students to take advantage of the large learning base. That way, they can go out into the world and do more—wherever it is that they're going to be. We want to build solid musicians who are going to go out and make a living, and we want it by way of what we do: music."
"No two people are created equally. Even though most of our students want the same thing—a successful music career—each has different ways to go about completing it. We're here to help them sort that out, so we develop personal relationships with each student. We do a lot more advising here than in other departments, and if I'm not advising face to face, I'm online doing it via email."