Pianist Charlie Banacos (1946–2009) taught at NEC from 1988 until just before his death from cancer on December 8, 2009. A pianist who was active as a composer in jazz and classical forms, Banacos was for many years an important jazz pedagogue, as a studio teacher and as a valued long-distance counsellor in the days when it was methods books and cassette tapes, not the Internet, that enabled "distance learning."
A Massachusetts native, Bergonzi studied locally with some resonant names—Jaki Byard and Margaret Chaloff. And while Banacos played with such big names as Miles Davis, Roy Haynes, and Wayne Shorter, he retired from performing in the 1970s while continuing to grow in renown as a teacher. Among Banacos's honor roll of former students is current faculty member Jerry Bergonzi.
B.M. in Music Education, Lowell State College. Studies with Margaret Chaloff, Jaki Byard. Former faculty of Longy School of Music, Berklee College of Music.
photo courtesy Jerry Bergonzi, showing Bergonzi, Jack Defendorf, Nick Goumas, Miles Donahue, and Charlie Banacos