Shilpa Ananth is an Indian vocalist, songwriter, composer and producer based in Brooklyn, New York, United States of America. She has a unique sound that fuses the dreamy landscapes of South India with soul, jazz, and electronic music. Shilpa creates art that transcends borders and cultures, blending three of the oldest Indian languages — Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi — with English.
"After graduating with honours from Berklee College of Music, Shilpa released her debut EP Indian Soul and went on to record and perform Grammy Award-winning composers A. R. Rahman, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Whalen and Javier Limon's Original Quartet."
She has also toured extensively with the Serbian female vocal group ROSA, the Berklee Indian Ensemble, Women of the World and with the Bollywood Boulevard musical production, performing at US venues such as Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theatre, NJPAC, Wolf Trap and The John F. Kennedy Center.
Samvel Gasparyan is an award-winning Armenian pianist, composer and educator. He has performed at prestigious events and festivals such as the Montreux, Dubai, Kavkaz and Yerevan jazz festivals; Jazz Across Borders, Saint Petersburg; Musikmesse Moscow; the Dubai World Cup; Mother of the Nation Festival in Abu Dhabi; and RedFestDXB.
Throughout his career, Samvel has collaborated with and opened for world-renowned and Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Jamiroquai, Diana Krall, Kool & The Gang, Kasabian, Elvis Castello, Robin Thicke and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. He has also performed with American jazz singers Deborah Davis and Eddie Cole, and with saxophonist Korey Riker (of John Legend’s band) and French harmonica musician Frederic Yonnet.
His recent solo album was released by Universal Music Group MENA and he has contributed to11 studio albums as a sideman, toured in more than 40 countries and performed at prestigious concert halls around the world (the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kremlin Palace auditorium, Emirates Palace and at MGM Grand Arena).
"Tania Saleh is a veteran Lebanese singer/songwriter/visual artist, a pioneer of the Arabic alternative music scene, a Fine Arts graduate with an illustrious career spanning more than 3 decades in the creative industry, and speckled with both compelling studio album releases and diverse collaborations. Her latest 2 albums have won the German Record Critics' Award for the years 2018 and 2021." Arab News UAE
James Kelly is a DJ, composer, performer, producer, engineer and teacher who is from the United Kingdom. James’s creative work explores the use of the turntable as an instrument. He pioneered the use of a vinyl disc cutting lathe as part of the compositional process in order to create turntable music and has worked in popular and experimental music as well as academia.
Spanning genres from dubstep to pop, funk and ambient, James’s projects have received national radio exposure in the United Kingdom. He toured the UK as a DJ and also with Ginger Snaps, Ola Szmidt and Pure Phase. As a composer, his interdisciplinary projects have included scores for the feature film Honeytrap (2014), the contemporary dance film Cynefin (2011) and for a solo sound art exhibition at the Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton, UK (2016).
James’s teaching focuses on DJ’ing and electronic music production, performance and music education. He wrote an accredited course in turntablism and contributed to producing the Tutoritool, a vinyl record designed to teach the user how to DJ using the records themselves. James has a PhD in turntablist composition from De Montfort University, UK, and previously held the position of Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Northampton.
Ksenija Kovač-Romano is a professional ballet soloist and renowned choreographer with international experience. She has over 20 years of performance and teaching experience in classical and modern ballet in Ballet and Opera productions. She has worked for and collaborated with famous choreographers and theatre directors. She has a Diploma of the National Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana, Slovenia, and was a member of the Slovenian National ballet company in SNG Opera in Balet Ljubljana for 23 years.
Yarub Smarait’s career as a violinist has taken him all over the world, putting him at the forefront of a new generation of musicians emerging from the Arab region. Yarub was born in Amman, Jordan, but now lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Inspired by traditional fusions, Yarub’s music radiates with an international appeal that transcends languages, making complex compositions easy on the ear. He doesn’t shy away from breaking the rules, resulting in unique sounds and compositions.
Yarub is curious and adventurous, absorbing influences from Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and the Balkan region. His exploration of Arabic music has also cemented his unique musicality and a distinctive technique in reinterpreting oriental tunes.
Yarub’s performances have impressed audiences across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States of America.
With her captivating multi-octave voice and persuasive cross-cultural message, vocalist and songwriter MAYSSA KARAA defines a new era of musical inclusion. Her songs tell of a journey connecting her origins in the ancient land of Lebanon to her adopted home of Los Angeles, California.
Cinema audiences might identify the classically trained singer’s voice from the hit film American Hustle, where her Arabic version of the Sixties classic “White Rabbit” was a standout track on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack album;
She's also recently had a song (featured in one of the biggest movies in India) produced by Oscar winner Indian megastar AR Rahman which has rapidly climbed up the charts in various countries and hit No. 1 on Apple Music India.
MAYSSA recently launched her full-length English solo debut album
“SIMPLE CURE” with a celebration at the historic “Capitol studios” in Hollywood.
The songs range from piano based simplicity to epic electronic orchestration with a unique blend of American pop and middle eastern influences.
Television audiences might recognize her from the popular PBS Special,
“Enrico Caruso: His Life, His Music, His Cities” featuring Placido Domingo in Naples, Italy. International families might identify her as the ambassador of Sesame Street (Middle East edition: “Iftah Ya Simsim”) through “The Arabic Alphabet Song” that generated over 30M YouTube views so far.
MAYSSA is the Artistic Director at Berklee College of Music’s new campus in Abu Dhabi. Berklee is known as the world’s pre-eminent institute of contemporary music, dance and
theater. Prominent alumni include legendary music producer Quincy Jones, John Mayer, Charlie Puth, virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai, and jazz pianist Diana Krall, composer Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones) among many more. She said: "Since graduating from Berklee I’ve felt the urge to find a way to give talented artists from the region I grew up in to access the Berklee experience. We’re now making it a reality and I’m delighted as I feel like I’m bringing my musical home of Berklee to my home in the Middle East ".
MAYSSA has also been appointed “musical and creative lead” of the Dubai Expo 2020 all female “Firdaus orchestra” initiative under the patronage of AR Rahman.
Melding Arabic influences into Western music is MAYSSA’s forte: notable recordings in her catalog include a version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” accompanied by the band’s Scott Page, to which both Roger Waters and David Gilmour granted their blessings. With music as her passport, she says that it was never an intention to go to the United States and live inside of a bubble. “I came here to expand, to tell others about my culture and learn about theirs.”
Grammy and Latin Grammy winning engineer, music producer and entrepreneur. He is the Director at Berklee Abu Dhabi and a former faculty member at Berklee's campus in Valencia, Spain, where he lectured and developed curriculum on the subjects of music production, sound recording techniques, mixing and live sound at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has also given master classes throughout Latin America at colleges like Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidad La Salle.
He has worked on more than 50 albums and 500+ Live shows internationally, for artists such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Mexican mariachi singers Aida Cuevas, Pepe Aguilar, jazz legends John McLaughlin and Caribbean Jazz project to name a few. Some of his corporate clients include Samsung, BBC, McDonalds, Universal Music and Warner.
Hedding has created Sandia Sound Studio and Sandia Live, both ventures in Cancun, Mexico, devoted to music production in the studio and on stage. He is also a founding member and has served as Secretary of the CPI (Circle of Producers and Engineers) at the Latin Recording Academy, and actively serves as an advisor of foundations in Mexico and India devoted to the improvement of culture and the music industry.
Composer, producer, engineer & professor
Stephen is an Emmy-winning composer and the founder of Berklee's DJ and turntablism classes, which are considered to be the first to be offered by a college of music.
He is currently the Executive Director of BerkleeNYC, where he’s overseen the iconic Power Station recording studios since 2017, hosting sessions for the likes of John Legend, Mick Jagger, Disney's Mary Poppins and Frozen. Alongside this, he is the Dean of Strategic Initiatives for Berklee College of Music at large, and an A&R consultant for the Universal Music Group.
Stephen has produced and engineered albums for a wide range of artists. He is the composer and turntable soloist of the Stylus Symphony, a groundbreaking work that combines a full orchestra with hip-hop, trip-hop and dub step. He is an award-winning educator, whose Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) The Art of Music Production has over 30,000 students. He is also the author Turntable Technique: The Art of the DJ, the first book to teach the turntable as a musical instrument, and DJ Skills: the Ultimate Guide to Mixing and Scratching.
Professor Tonya Butler, J.D., LL.M. is Chair of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music. She is the first woman and the first person of colour to lead the department in its 30-year history.
A seasoned veteran of the music industry, Prof. Butler has more than 14 years of expertise as an entertainment attorney and record label executive, as well as 16 years’ experience running music business programmes and teaching classes in entertainment law. She has a Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law and a Master of Laws degree in Entertainment and Media from Southwestern University School of Law, with an international component from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England.
Prof. Butler is an award-winning motivational speaker, Toastmaster and author of the self-published career guide, The Music Business is Corrupt or Maybe You Just Can’t Sing?, a book about how to take responsibility for your struggling career. She also hosts a bi-weekly podcast called the B.O.M.B. (Business of Music Bootcamp) Podcast, which highlights the business and legal aspects of the music industry, using high-profile cases and celebrity disputes.
Kathleen M. Howland
Kathleen M. Howland is a certified music therapist and licensed speech language pathologist. For the past 40 years, she has worked with a variety of clinical populations, using music to enhance speech, language, cognition and movement in habilitation and rehabilitation settings. Her doctoral studies in music and cognition have informed and supported her interest in bridging the communities of science and art in order to identify best practices. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the Boston Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Lesley University and Boston University. This gives her the opportunity to bring clinical work into the classroom and academic resources to clinical work.
Dr Howland says “I believe in the power of music to reach people with disabilities that are either congenital or acquired in nature. After 40-plus years in the field, I continue to be amazed at the abilities that are revealed and accessed through music. I believe that music is a force for good in the world and it is my aspiration to serve this belief through the best from both science and art.”
With a unique background in engineering and film scoring, Kevin’s work is often at the nexus of music and technology. He has spent the past few years collaborating with Intel to create new forms of music production and performance, and most recently was the music supervisor for Le Musk, an immersive cinematic virtual reality experience, together with his mentor A.R. Rahman. Kevin started working with A.R. Rahman 10 years ago on his Slumdog Millionaire world tour and has now become an integral part of his team, collaborating on other projects such as Pelé: Birth of a Legend, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Million Dollar Arm and many Indian feature films.
Kevin is an Emmy-nominated composer for his work on Momentum Generation. He has also worked on TV, trailers and video games, including Dead Rising 4 and Need for Speed. He recently developed an artificially intelligent (AI) composing algorithm through his collaboration with Intel that will be used for the mascot anthems in the 2021Tokyo Olympic Games.
Kevin spent his formative years in France and the Netherlands, developing a passion for music early on in his life. Although he can play many instruments, he has been a classically trained pianist since the age of six. He continues to perform and to direct live shows, such as the opening musical performance for the Intel 2018 keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, and A.R. Rahman’s Coke Studio show in India. Kevin has also been working as a consultant for Yamaha and Steinberg for the past 11 years and is the West Coast Steinberg representative in the United States of America. In this capacity, he frequents studios to train musicians, artists and music producers on Cubase, Nuendo, Dorico and Wavelab.
Cellist, composer & studio musician
An acclaimed Palestinian multi-style cellist and composer, Naseem is a striking example of a unique musical voice from the Middle East. He is a classically trained musician and improviser, with a reputation for blending Arabic, jazz and classical western music into his performances.
After studying at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees for cello performance.
Naseem is a soloist, recording musician, chamber musician, and teacher, currently serving directing the Arab Music Ensemble at Tufts University. He is a global performer, touring with Danilo Perez’s Global Messengers and Amir Elsaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra. He has also performed at many international festivals and performance venues such as the Detroit Jazz Festival, Lebanon’s Beit Aldeen Festival and the Royal Albert Hall.
Brian Dubb is a passionate, energetic, and visionary entrepreneur who thrives on empowering teams and leading from the front. With more than 20 years of industry experience in startups in music, content, agri-tech, early AI, and travel, he spent his formative years as a professional songwriter, recording artist and performer.
In 2016, he flipped the music management model on its head and set up MPAL PRO, a management services solution for established music artists, empowering them to be their own managers. Key clients include Imogen Heap and her Mycelia for Music and Creative Passports, as well as Lior, Australia's most successful independent music artist.
In 2019, he launched Centralized, the world's first web application for artist management, for self-managed artists and new-era managers. It includes guides, workflow checklists, email and agreement templates for all aspects of managing the career of a music artist. It brings process, structure, and transparency to the music business.
Brian Dubb has been a guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music’s Boston and Valencia campuses. Centralized is a pro-bono supporter of Berklee City Music.
Regional Manager for the Middle East & North Africa at Believe, leading digital distribution and Artist Services activities.
Holding different Masters in ecology, immunology and entomology, beside a Bachelor degree in Theology & history of Religions, Dolly Makhoul integrated the industry of cultural products in early 2004.
She managed the main branch of Virgin Megastores in Beirut where she stayed for four years, followed by six years in a 360° Music company, developing experience and skills in artists’ management, production, Live & branding.
In 2014, she moved to Paris and joined Believe to develop the company’s distribution business and services in the Middle East & North Africa.
Habib Achour started his career at EMI in the early 90s, promoting labels such as Blue Note Records and Emi Arabia. Later, be it in his capacity as manager or booking agent, he has represented artists such as Erik Truffaz, Anouar Brahem and Dhafer Youssef, to name but a few. In addition, he has experience managing and/or programming festivals in Morocco, Lebanon and France (among which theFestival d´Île-de-France in Paris).
Following on from Marseille-Provence’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2013, for which Achour was responsible for music and urban culture, he joined the New Morning club in Paris as Deputy Director. Today, he is Head of International Development for Africa & the Middle-East at SACEM.
Roger Ryan has built a music career and legacy on the premise that Music Is For The SOUL.
He is a graduate of Oakwood College, where he majored in Piano Performance and Graduate studies in Arranging at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
This multi Grammy, Dove nominee and Juno Award winning producer has run the full spectrum of the industry and a wide range of genres. His talents have taken him around the world.
Career Highlights include:
• First Music Director for Gospel diva, Cece Winans, Musician with Country/Pop great Wynonna Judd • Written and/or arranged music for Artists such as Yolanda Adams, Opera Star: Angela Brown, Alvin Slaughter, Avalon and the London Philharmonic, Mandisa
• Collaborative work with Patti Austin and the San Francisco Orchestra
• Live performances with artist such as Whitney Houston, Lalah Hathaway, Faith Hill, Kirk
Whalum, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Earl Klugh, Denise Williams, Michael W. Smith, Amy
Grant, Kenny Rogers, Donna Summer, Gino Vanelli, David Peck, Tony Rich, Tommy Simms • Arrangement & Production of Shirley Caesar and Friends Project featuring Faith Evans,
Kirk Franklin, Patti La Belle, Oleta Adams and Gladys Knight
• Co-Produced: The Nu Nation Tour with Kirk Franklin
• Co-produced Televised White House Concert for President Bill Clinton, Program for PBS
• Lilo & Stitch Movie Premiere:Hollywood, Ca Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary:Orlando, Fl
• 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Para Olympics Opening Ceremonies with Stevie Wonder and Donnie Osmond Battery Park
• Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Induction: Tribute to Diana Ross, VH1 Save the Music Show,
NAMM Trade Convention, Cinema Awards Tributes An exquisitely gifted pianist, performer, producer, arranger and vocalist in his own right, he continues to passionately lend his skilled musicianship and production expertise toward the enrichment and development of others. This has resulted in Collaborative Partnerships, Masterclass Development and Interactive Learning environments such as:
• International Advisory Council for University of Trinidad & Tobagos’ Academy for the Performing Arts
• Mentor and Counselor to the Music Department at University of the Southern Caribbean
• Masterclass: Music Writing & Arranging in New Zealand and the UK, Mark Kibble (Take 6),
Gordon Chambers (Anita Baker)
• Masterclass for Natural Cultural Foundation in Barbados and continued partnership to Developing a Holistic Music program to stimulate the Music Industry in Barbados,
• 1st Annual Songwriters Camp in Galway, Ireland Currently, the Roger Ryan Brand is involved in numerous recording projects through his production company, Roger Ryan Music.
Within recent years Roger started a label called AfterTouch Music, which is currently being distributed by Sonys' Indie arm.
For Roger, music is spiritual, “I truly do believe that music is for the soul and should come from the depths of who we are...from the core. The mind isn’t deep enough, neither is the heart.
To inspire it must come from the soul.”
Serena Abou Daher
Serena is a music Producer/Dj | realtime Audio-Visual composer & performer based in Dubai. She expresses her inspiration by tapping into the multi-genre music and art world. She explores and experiments with Surrealist, organic sounds and textures in the form of Downtempo/Electronica music. Her pieces communicate emotional, social and cultural concepts that are prominent in her journey of self-discovery. The art of communication is what inspires her work and is the reason behind her executions.
She also is an Assistant professor in Digital Media holding a BFA in Visual Communication from the American University in Dubai and a Master’s Degree in Music Production, Technology and Innovation from Berklee College of Music. She also is one of the ambassadors of Berklee College of Music in Dubai. Her area of expertise is in Music Production, DJ, real time audio and visual composer and performer.
She’s worked and performed in gigs with well known artists as a DJ and a VJ all over the city of Valencia, Spain. She was given an Advanced Contemporary Artist Award in 2018 by Berklee leaders for her thesis presented as an audio-visual installation and performance all over the city of Valencia and was selected to present her work via the social media channels of the International Music Summit(IMS) which took place in Ibiza,Spain. Serena’s passion and work was also recognized as a great art director and innovative audio-visual producer by visiting guests in Berklee Valencia such as, Nona Hendryx, Patrice Rushen and Katrina Becic.
All of her visual and audio work are innovatively produced, created, designed, performed and executed digitally via technology tools. Her music is released on more than 50 popular online stores and streaming services such as; iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Anghami,TikTok and many more and is continuing to release more of her music as well as performances and installations.