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Alumni Profiles

A community of over 13,000 NEC alumni live and perform in more than 40 countries throughout the world, and we are proud to share their stories and successes.

Here, we take an in-depth look at a few of our alumni and their paths beyond NEC. Be sure to check back frequently as we continue to add more profiles to this page.

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Clint Bajakian

"The thing I love so much about NEC is the combination of excellence and a nurturing, warm, encouraging atmosphere."

Excelsa Quartet

" keeping a group sense of curiosity and open-mindedness, we eventually discover what feels right in the music. And when we feel stuck in rehearsal with a particular phrase, we always sing it!"

Monica Germino

"...without great music most experiments are likely to fail."

Darryl Harper

"When you spend a lot of time examining them, boundaries of culture or genre, for example, you often come to recognize them as porous, fluid, even provisional. I am attracted to boundaries, because there is so much interesting stuff happening at them."

Matthew Howard

Matthew Howard

"I saw it as a challenge and used it to motivate me to become the best musician that I could be."

Warren Jones

"...the older that I get, the more I recognize that music is in all things, at all times."

Kate Lemmon

Kate Lemmon

"Each art form influences and strengthens my love for the other."

Lei Liang

Lei Liang

"For any young composer, there is no better gift than a community that inspires one's musical imagination, and nourishes one's artistic development."

Sooyun Kim

“Music is an act of sharing.”

Allegra Levy

"Maybe there'll be a jazz and pie café of my creation someday."

Hannah Rose Nicholas

Hannah Nicholas

"As I step out of my comfort zone, I feel more and more possibilities open up. I am really happy to be in the music and art world, even during the most stressful moments."

Luciana Souza

"...what if we remove a specific language and try something non-linguistic? Are we still able to arrive at some cohesive idea? Are we still creating language?"

Matthew Szymanski

“You’re not expected to go into the world and do everything the same way it's been done in the past.”

Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan

"Always be open to new ideas to facilitate a creative, open, and safe learning environment for all students."

Stephen Upshaw

“They write impenetrably difficult music notated so specifically, and when you work with them, they can hear absolutely everything you’re doing. In a way, it has taught me how to read music."

Jonathan Vinocour

“...learn the piece, the context, what underlying harmonies are going on...that level of awareness can be really noticeable.”

Linda Watson

"...everyone you meet and work with becomes a permanent part of your life, so create your world with that in mind."