John Berman (1976) Piano, Flute

I was a member of the New Trier West Jazz Ensemble in 1995 and 1996. I was proud to have been appointed a Student Director during my Senior Year.

I live in Alexandria VA, just outside of Washington DC. I went to the University of Illinois, initially to study music, but ended up with a BA in (of all things…) Philosophy (!). From there I went to Vanderbilt University on a scholarship to do a PhD in Economics, but only did an MA degree in the end. My dream was to get into “international development,” which is pretty much is what I’ve done my entire career. I lived in Senegal (2 years), Guinea (2 years), Kenya (6 years) and Bangladesh, most recently, for 2 years. While based in DC (in between the overseas postings) I have managed development projects in health, principally, but also in agriculture. This work has allowed me to travel a lot in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South Asia, and Latin America. My travels have been mostly to very poor countries, as you can imagine, although there were many shorter visits to donors in Europe (UK and Switzerland mostly).

My musical career withered pretty quickly, although I did play flute in a salsa band when I lived in Kenya, and classical flute with several groups when living in Senegal and Guinea (Conakry).

I’m married, my wife is from Kenya (although we met here), and we have three grown children. That’s my life!!