Charles L. Christenson

Instructor in Music
Smiling man in dark clothes


Dr. Charlie Christenson is an instructor of contemporary voice at Phillips Exeter Academy and an associate professor of voice at the Berklee College of Music. As a vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter, he has continually challenged the status-quo and forged his own unique aesthetic path. He is equally at home playing, singing, and improvising in a wide array of contemporary styles, particularly rock, R&B, folk, and jazz (all of which are represented in the working bands which he has led in Minneapolis, Miami, New York City, and now New England). His recordings can be found on Spotify and Apple Music, released independently and through the New York based-label Biophilia Records.

Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Christenson taught at the University of Southern Maine, the University of Miami, and for six years served as the Head of the Voice Department and Director of the Graduate Program at the McNally Smith College of Music. His doctoral project, entitled "A Study of Vocal Technique Through the Development of Four Advanced √Čtudes for Jazz and Contemporary Vocalists," was completed in Spring 2020, and the first expanded collection of original voice √©tudes derived from this research is nearing completion for publication. He is editor-in-chief of the online music publication Foray Music where he supervises the weekly newsletter, hosts podcasts, and produces articles and videos for musicians of all levels.

Dr. Christenson is a native of Wisconsin. He grew up listening to Paul Simon and playing drums in a Led Zeppelin cover band. In college he produced a classic rock radio show and played piano in a salsa orchestra. In New York, he sang with big bands and avant-garde free jazz ensembles, while spending his afternoons walking through Central Park listening to Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver. When not playing or teaching music, he loves to hike, camp, read, watch NBA basketball, and play video games.