Indian Hill Music Launches New Online Conversations Series in Partnership With Berklee College of Music

Conversations in Tones and Colors, hosted by author, composer, and educator Dr. Bill Banfield, spotlights the lives of groundbreaking contemporary American musicians.

Indian Hill Music is excited to announce a new partnership with Berklee College of Music to present Conversations in Tones and Colors, an online conversation series that spotlights some of the most influential and groundbreaking musicians in America today.

The online series, hosted by author, historian, musician, and educator Dr. Bill Banfield, features conversations and musical explorations with leading artists from diverse American backgrounds and styles. Each event will be held live on Zoom, featuring a different musician speaking with Bill about their life and work, sharing clips from their live performances, and answering audience questions.

Conversations opens on April 16 with multiple GRAMMY nominee, jazz pianist, composer, and educator Patrice Rushen, a disco hitmaker and the first female music director for the GRAMMY awards, EMMY Awards, and others. Rushen currently serves as Ambassador of Artistry In Education at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and is the Chair of the Popular Music Program at USC’s Thornton School of Music.


On May 14, pioneering jazz drummer and three-time GRAMMY winner Terri Lyne Carrington shares stories from her standout career in the music industry, and as an educator amplifying the importance of women in jazz as Founder and Artistic Director for the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

Additional conversations will be announced throughout the year.

“We are thrilled to welcome these singular, world-class artists to share their stories, recordings, and backgrounds with us,” said Indian Hill Director of Education and Non-Classical Performance Pete Robbins. “We’re proud to announce these events in partnership with our friends at Berklee College of Music.”

Series host Dr. Bill Banfield is the former director and founder of Africana Studies at Berklee College of Music. Dr. Cornel West has called him, “one of the last grand Renaissance men in our time… a towering artist, exemplary educator, rigorous scholar, courageous freedom fighter,” and Henry Louis Gates wrote of him, “Bill Banfield is one of the most original voices on the scene today… he tunes us in to the conversation happening worldwide between the notes of contemporary musical culture.”

His works have been commissioned by several leading orchestras, recorded by prominent labels, and performed by luminaries such as Bobby McFerrin, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Regina Carter, among others. Banfield has been a national public radio show host, having served as arts and culture correspondent for The Tavis Smiley Show. In 2010, he was hired by Quincy Jones to write a national music curriculum and book for schools learning about American popular music culture. Banfield served as a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard in 2002 and was invited by Toni Morrison to serve as a visiting Princeton Atelier artist in 2003.

The cultivation of arts and ideas goes hand in hand with how we see and live in our world. Arts speak of life’s experiences, and arts carry a kind of universal impulse we can all relate to.

In recent years, Banfield has given his own music appreciation lectures as part of Indian Hill Music’s Discovery Lecture series, and was tapped by Robbins to help bring other influential artists to Indian Hill audiences.

“I have been interviewing, following the lives of important artists, and documenting their ideas and art,” said Banfield. “The cultivation of arts and ideas goes hand in hand with how we see and live in our world. Arts speak of life’s experiences, and arts carry a kind of universal impulse we can all relate to. Pete [Robbins] and I were dreaming up ways we could collaborate in programming and we came up with a series that linked artists’ work and their ideas,” he continued. “We think this program will seed other fruitful collaborations connected to arts discussions and concert series sponsored by Indian Hill. I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of it.”

“It is impossible to separate song from personal story, or music from the experience that inspired it,” said Robbins. “Dr. Bill Banfield has lived this notion as a performer and composer, and will bring the concept to life alongside some of America’s most vibrant and diverse musicians.”

Conversations in Tones and Colors will presented securely on Zoom, offering participants the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with the artists.

Tickets start at $15 for the public, and are free for Indian Hill Music and Berklee College of Music students.  Learn more and purchase tickets online at