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Berklee Student

Dante St. James

Berklee Student
Member since 2011

About Me

Dante Obi Ibe encountered music at later stage than most other musicians. Raised in London, England to Nigerian parents, music was never seen as nothing more than a hobby not to be taken too seriously. His sister received a piano at a young age in the hopes that she would develop this skill; unfortunately the instrument would go untouched for many years.

In 2006 Dante was introduced to the music notation program Sibelius. Always subconsciously composing Dante would sing melodies to his music teach and she would play them back on the violin, now here was an opportunity for him to hear things back with larger ensemble. Making sense of the compositions would prove futile however with little understanding of music.

In 2007 Dante began self teaching piano on the old digital keyboard his parents had bought for his sister. Gaining an understanding of chords and minimal understanding of scales he developed his compositional abilities finally beginning to understand notation.

Dante auditioned for Berklee College of Music in 2009 at the urging of his sister, he played a piece (‘Eyes on Me’) that he had learned almost entirely by ear one note at a time. He also entered 3 of his compositions for scholarship consideration and thankfully was offered both a place and a scholarship at the prestigious school of music.

Dante enrolled at Berklee College of Music in the spring of 2010 and was instantly made aware at how much knowledge he lacked with barely the ability to read a lead sheet. Working extremely hard Dante was able to secure good grades for his first 2 semesters at Berklee, becoming extremely proficient in harmony, ear training and music technologies.

At this point it became clear that writing was what he loved to do, originally comig to major in just Film Scoring, Dante added a dual major in Contemporary Writing & Performance in order to learn many styles be as versatile a composer as possible.

Though starting Berklee at the lowest levels of all classes, in Dante’s 3rd semester he was able to test out of both the Arranging 1 & Harmony 3 classes through hard work and determination. During this semester he was introduced to the world of musical theatre and light music with it’s lush orchestrations. Enamored with this music he wrote a song ‘Compatibility is Key’ which was chosen to be performed at the ‘Curtain Up’ concert.

The following semester Dante composed a string quartet which was chosen to be performed by the visiting Esterhazy Quartet. A piece for orchestra was also played by the BCSO. However, by far the greatest achievement for him of the semester was winning the Grand Prize in Berklee’s 7th annual Film Scoring Competition, chosen by a highly regarded panel including film scoring chair Dan Carlin.

Currently he is writing original music and lyrics for a special musical themed episode of the Emerson student produced show “Internment”. He is also scoring an animated short ‘The Humble Climb” created by Emerson animation major Bilali Mack.