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In Memoriam: Janet Haas

Dear members of the Berklee community,

As you heard recently, Janet Haas, assistant professor in the Music Education Department, passed away last month at age 59 after a brief battle with brain cancer.

“I speak for our whole department in saying that Janet was an exceptional musician, educator, mentor, and colleague,” said Cecil Adderley, chair of Berklee’s Music Education Department. “A highly respected member of the string world, she was humble and cared about all her students, from the beginner to the most accomplished players. Her wit and passion will be missed.”

Janet taught string methods at Berklee and also taught in the Lexington Public Schools for 30 years, starting beginners, leading middle school ensembles, and directing two of the three high school orchestras.

“Janet was a woman of the highest professional integrity,” said Jeff Leonard, Janet’s longtime colleague at Lexington High School and associate professor in the Music Education Department. “She never watched the clock, consistently teaching well beyond her contracted classroom hours. Being a music educator wasn’t about making a living for Janet; it was about a deep commitment to professionalism and freely giving everything her students, colleagues, and career asked of her.”

Janet’s orchestras performed at the Massachusetts Music Educators and NAfME Eastern Division conferences, and regularly received gold medals and superior ratings at the MICCA Festival. She was a member of several ensembles, including La Donna Musicale, which specializes in the music of 18th and 19th century female composers, and El Dorado, Boston’s viola da gamba consort.

“Berklee was truly fortunate to have Janet Haas teaching string pedagogy to our music education students,” said David Wallace, chair of Berklee’s String Department. “A gifted multi-instrumentalist and a renowned, world-class performer in early music, Janet also brought years of practical experience teaching in Boston’s public schools. Our graduates will continue to respect and emulate her high standards, patience, and compassion.”

I know I speak for our entire community in expressing our condolences to Janet’s loved ones, friends, colleagues, and former students.

I invite you to share stories and memories about Janet in the comments below.

Sincerely,

Jay Kennedy
Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice Provost
Berklee

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1 Comment

  1. Noah Harrington

    Janet Haas was one of first music teachers, and she was responsible for many of the positive early experiences that were critical to keep me and so many others engaged in LPS’ music programs. I would not be who I am today, let alone the player I am today, without the department that she built or her personal and vivacious presence in the music and lives of children.

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