Berklee appoints first female president

Erica Muhl © USC Photo:Gus Ruelas

Composer and conductor Erica Muhl is to take over from Roger H Brown as the fourth-ever president and the first woman to lead Berklee College of Music.

Muhl has spent 30 years at the University of Southern California (USC) where she became the dean and founding director of the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, founded by music industry figures Jimmy Iovine and Andre ‘Dr Dre’ Young. There, she gained plaudits for attracting a student population that is majority female and of colour, establishing a teaching regime that Roger Brown described as ‘One of the most innovative programmes in all of American higher education, reimagining education as the intersection of music, art, media and technology.’

Muhl will take over from Brown in July 2021. ‘I want to offer my deepest thanks and appreciation to Berklee’s trustees, and to the amazing Roger Brown,’ said Muhl. ‘The institution you have all built has no equal and I am deeply honoured by your faith in my ability to grow its mission.’

Over a year was spent searching for a suitable candidate for president by a committee from across the Berklee community, led by the Vice Chair of Berklee’s Board of Trustees, Marty Mannion. The committee sought a candidate with strategic thinking, a true appreciation of the life of an artist, leadership on equity, diversity and inclusion and a clear understanding of the challenges facing higher education.

‘Erica’s deep experience in cross-disciplinary innovation in higher education, with artistry and technology at its core, coupled with her distinguished music career and lifelong dedication to students, embodies the qualities we sought and aligns perfectly with Berklee’s vision,’ said the Chair of Berklee’s Board of Trustees, Susan Whitehead.

‘Erica’s experience as a strong, seasoned leader who has innovated and managed in times of change uniquely places her to lead Berklee into a new era,’ said Mannion. ‘Her enthusiasm for our mission, along with a skillset that readily embraces the full range of what we do, makes her a strong choice to lead Berklee as our next president.’

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