Michael Bierylo

Chair Emeritus
Affiliated Departments

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Michael Bierylo is an electronic musician, guitarist, composer, and sound designer. He was a faculty member at Berklee College of Music since 1995 and is chair emeritus of the Electronic Production and Design Department. He is also active with Berklee Online, Berklee’s online school, where he coauthors and teaches music technology courses.

Bierylo has performed throughout the U.S. at venues as diverse as the Knitting Factory, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Duke and Emory universities, and Dartmouth College as a member of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Bierylo's compositions are featured on the releases Dancing on A'A, Petrophonics, The Iridium Controversy, and Extreme Spirituals, all on Cuneiform Records. As a solo electronic artist, Bierylo has performed with a laptop computer and modular synthesizers in the U.S., Germany, China, and Poland, including at the DAT Festival, the Shanghai Electronic Music Festival, the Krakow Audio Art Festival, and at concerts with Grammy-nominated electronic musician BT and Terence Blanchard. His composition “Koralate" appeared on The $100 Guitar Project.

Bierylo's commercial work includes music and audio production for Hasbro Interactive, the Smithsonian, Nickelodeon, and the Oxygen Network, as well as music and sound design for the Incredible Hulk attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure. As a commercial composer, Bierylo's work has been featured on A&E's Biography, the Learning Channel, and Martha Stewart Living. Recent projects include work on the films Granito, The Reckoning, and Traces of the Trade, all featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

Career Highlights
  • Guitarist, composer, programmer, and sound designer in Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, with performances throughout the U.S.
  • Artist in residence at Dartmouth College, Emory University, and Duke University, among others
  • Album credits include Life Line as a solo artist, Dancing on A'A (Cuneiform Records), guitar and MIDI production on Sama Yie by Senegalese musician Ibrahima Camara, and music for the Sonoton Music Library
  • Owner and operator of Virtual Planet, a desktop audio studio, with clients such as Hasbro Interactive, Nintendo, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, and VH1, among others
  • Commercial music credits include scoring and sound design for The Box, Creatures in a Wood, and postproduction audio supervision for New Nation
  • Chair Emeritus, Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words

"I encourage creativity but [also] a firm understanding of technical and musical basics, a firm grounding. I also encourage openness to lots and lots of different styles of music. Perhaps the most important thing for electronic production and design majors to have is an insane curiosity and dedication to sound. They just have to love sound and love playing with sound. I want students to get really excited finding new sounds and manipulating new sounds, whether it's musical sounds or environmental sounds. Is this student really excited about sound, or do they just like synthesizers?"

"I developed an elective called Sound Design for Animation. It's one of the first that's actually a collaboration between Berklee and Massachusetts College of Art. Mass Art students studying animation pair off with Berklee students and collaborate on developing sound design for their projects."

"It's interesting to watch Berklee students negotiate with Mass Art students, not just about what the music and sound is going to be—there are also timetables and scheduling meetings and the whole idea of the interpersonal relationship you have. How do you talk to a visual artist? How do you listen to what he's saying and parse that into specific musical ideas? That's the kind of stuff I could go into a classroom and do a lecture on, but you really don't learn it until you start doing it with people."

"I would say to prospective music technology students: Learn all you can about music. Learn all you can about the rudiments, especially students who are working as DJs. Learn the keyboard. In electronic music there are a lot of ways to work with electronics and sound synthesis, but the musical typewriter is the keyboard, and the better you know the keyboard, the more of an advantage you will have once you get here."