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I took Yakov's Shostakovich class, and I think it was the most helpful class I've taken at Berklee. He knows everything there is to know about the man and his music, and the analysis of his music as it relates to his life and creative process is invaluable. Highly recommend it. He's also a super nice guy!

Dec 9th, 2013


By far the best experience and professor I've had at Berklee. He is very passionate about music, very goofy, very kind, and very talented. Show up to class and show him the respect of being on time & you won't have any problems at all. As long as you are present you will get the grade. Take his classes, it is so seriously worth it. He is the best!

Apr 10th, 2013


Possibly one of the best teachers in Berklee, especially for Counterpoint. Teach very clearly with lots of interesting illustrations, makes me very interested in the subject which is not an easy one. Offering great advice in fine-tuning your composition.

Aug 27th, 2010


One of Berklee's gems. He's incredibly knowledgeable. Studying Bach fugues was like taking Latin, but Yakov is certainly a great teacher who is even skilled enough to play the fugues in class.

May 1st, 2010


One of the best teachers that I've ever met. He explains everything very clearly, using lots of imaginative examples taken from everyday lives. It makes me very interested with the subject. Excellent piano player as well. Highly recommended teacher!

Dec 24th, 2009


He's simply the best. Teaches the material well. Excellent person.

Dec 11th, 2009


Best teacher I've ever had. Metaphors and in-class analysis helps you understand clearly. Truly an inspirational man, like Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society.

May 11th, 2009


Yakov is brilliant. He is one of those teachers who truly wants to help students learn. He understands the nature of the artist and knows how to nurture it. He is a master of canon and invention writing. He is truly in service to his students and just the most wonderful teacher!!!

Aug 10th, 2008


His class was like something out of a movie. You don't find many people like him. He was immensely sincere, he didn't have to make an effort to be he just was. The class made you really see the joy in music. Beautiful person.

Jan 30th, 2008


Yakov is a sensational musician and pedagogue. Sadly, he is leaving Berklee to pursue composition full-time in Italy. If your path should ever cross with his, just know that he is as good as they come.

May 10th, 2007


Unquestionably one of my all time best teachers. He is warm, respectful, knows his stuff and is fascinating, as well as having studied with the legendary Shostakovich. Unfortunately, he will be moving to Italy, and won't be returning to Berklee in the foreseeable future. If he does come back, make an effort to take his classes. He's worth it.

May 4th, 2007


Yakov is simply the best teacher in the composition department. Whether it’s Traditional harmony 1 or Directed study and everything in between... he will teach each class with passion for music. Yes!

Feb 3rd, 2007


Yakov is an exemplary teacher. He is passionate, seems to know everything about what he teaches, and constantly displays a professional attitude. He is extremely respectful, and he is a great piano player.

Jan 6th, 2007


Passionate, inspired lecturer. It's hard to imagine someone loving something more than Yakov loves Bach. And if you can write a good fugue, he'll love you too. If you take Yakov's class and still don't appreciate this music, you really need to change careers.

Sep 19th, 2006


I wish all teachers could be like this. Extremely gifted not only as a musician but as an educator. He has such a sweet spirit, and sympathizes with the demands we're faced with as students. He takes the pressure off learning in a way that you can enjoy the experience. If you wanna get your money's worth out of your tuition, TAKE HIS CLASSES!

Jun 13th, 2006


The fact that this guy’s classes fill up faster than just about any other teacher's classes should tell you he's worth building your schedule around - that's if you’re lucky enough to get into his class. Traditional harmony or counterpoint, he's truly inspiring; this guy is the best teacher one could ask for. A credit to Berklee for getting him!

Apr 28th, 2006


One of the best teachers I've had at Berklee. I've learned a ton from him! Fantastic teacher and musician - can play all the Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier book.

Apr 9th, 2006


Yakov is one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had... if you are able to somehow get in one of his classes I highly suggest you take him... he actually made me look forward to going to counterpoint...

Mar 9th, 2006


Genius, great musician, great teacher!!!

Nov 16th, 2005


Fantastic teacher, wish I took him for Counterpoint 1... Very clear, articulate, knowledgeable, full of info and funny stories.

Oct 26th, 2005


Sense of humor, GREAT teacher. And although he teaches the traditional classes, he is very aware and appreciative of other styles of music. Also... Go See Him Play For The Harvard Film Archive. He plays original music LIVE with silent films and it’s BRILLIANT!!!

Oct 10th, 2005


He has absolutely so much to offer it's mind-blowing. I'm a jazz composer major, but I am soon taking him for directed study in small forms, because I feel that he has much to offer my MUSIC. Not jazz or classical, but MUSIC. Highly recommended, no matter what is the class.

Sep 11th, 2005


I've had Yakov since he first started at Berklee during the fall of 2002. He is by far the best teacher that I've ever had at Berklee. If he taught every class within my major, then I would have fought tooth and nail to have him as my teacher. TAKE HIM IF THERE IS SPACE!!!

Jul 9th, 2005


WOW! I cannot say enough good things about Yakov. He is absolutely amazing. Made me understand (and even enjoy) Counterpoint. Very helpful and encouraging - cares about his students. Take him for anything you can! You won't regret it. 

May 3rd, 2005


He's an amazing pianist, which is definitely helpful in hearing the counterpoint and harmony. A loving teacher and always lighten up the class with some cute jokes. Definitely recommend him.

Apr 9th, 2005


Yakov is the type of brilliant, loving teacher everyone should have the pleasure of studying with. He is probably one of the most genuine and wonderful people I've ever met and cares greatly about the progress of his students. His command and perception of music is incredible. Take him if you can!

Apr 5th, 2005


Yakov is absolutely brilliant, the smartest teacher I've ever had. He comes into class extremely well prepared with notes and never fails to make his lectures interesting with his witty and friendly personality. Can sight read anything on the spot.

Oct 6th, 2004

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