Frederic Bryant Hollister, 1987

Doctor of Music

Freddie Bryant Hollister, known by the stage name Freddie Bryant, is a musician, composer, performer and teacher who has recorded six critically acclaimed CDs as a bandleader and contributed as a sideman to the recordings of numerous fellow musicians. A guitar virtuoso well-versed in many musical genres—from classical to Brazilian jazz to klezmer to Afro-pop—Bryant has served with his group Kaleidoscope as a “Jazz Ambassador” for the U.S. Department of State and as a solo artist for the State Department’s U.S. Speaker Program.

A native of New York City, Bryant hails from a musical family and made his stage debut at age 6 as a page-turner in New York’s historic Town Hall. He began playing guitar at age 8, first learning the classical style, and later, in junior high school, embracing jazz. Throughout his life, Bryant has remained devoted to both idioms, and his mastery of the two styles has created a fluidity and openness in his approach to music-making that has permitted him to easily adapt and improvise upon other musical forms.

At Amherst, Bryant studied under the American classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery (whom he still cites as a mentor) and graduated summa cum laude. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where he worked with Benjamin Verdery and where his interest in and exploration of Brazilian jazz emerged.

Having built a reputation as a musical polyglot, Bryant has worked with some of the great American and world musicians of our time, including Annette Aguilar, Kenny Burrell, Giora Feidman, Tom Harrell, Salif Keita, Lewis Porter, Shubhendra Rao, Badal Roy and many others. Bryant performs mainly on an acoustic, nylon-string guitar but is equally adept at playing the electric and 12-string versions of the instrument. He has composed more than 30 original pieces for his own CDs, while also writing for jazz orchestras, dance performances and film. He is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music and has presented clinics and workshops in 16 different countries. In 2004, Bryant received a Copeland Fellowship from Amherst College.

audioHear Conversations with Honored Guests, talks given by the honorary degree recipients.