Melissa Howe comes to the Office of the President following many years on faculty and five years as chair of the String Department. Teaching has been an integral part of her life as a musician. "Performing music, teaching music, and reflecting on music create a very constructive and creative feedback loop," Howe says. Her evolving roles at the college have broadened her understanding of the meaning of music and music education in today's world. As faculty, her mission was to guide each student toward self-discovery and technical mastery. As department chair, she supported several hundred students and their faculty, seeking out the right tools to enable students to lay their foundation for their life’s work. Now, as chief of staff, she ensures that the mission and vision of Berklee—to educate, train, and develop students to excel in music as a career—plays out everywhere in the daily life of the college. To do this, she works as an active and integral link between President Roger H. Brown and the college as a whole, ensuring that the institution’s strategic initiatives are on track and executed efficiently and thoughtfully.
During her tenure, she has actively engaged in the many faces of Berklee's contemporary music scene, having recorded viola for a food opera, presented Berklee's first Video Game String Quartet concert, and played concerts as diverse as the Beatles’ White Album, a Harry Belafonte tribute, and the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. Howe trained at Oberlin Conservatory and Boston University. Beyond her role at the college, she performs with ensembles such as the Boston Ballet, the Boston Pops, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, as well as with contemporary artists such as Björk, Aerosmith, Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, and Rascal Flatts.