Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Friday Night Classical ft. Berklee Indian Ensemble

September 27th. 8:00pm. Boston Conservatory at Berklee. You had to be there to experience the music in all its glory. The sold-out performance aptly titled “Which Classical Music?” was directed by Markus Placci and was a celebration of chamber music, performed by acclaimed Boston Conservatory at Berklee faculty members and renowned guest artists from around the world. 

The term “classical music” has far deeper global connotations than what a google search for the term might suggest and it was there for the audience to see in a night filled with dazzling performances, including our very own Berklee Indian Ensemble. Markus Placci came up with the idea while he was visiting India and realized that his idea of Classical Music was vastly different from the people around him. It dawned on him that every part of the world has their own idea of classical music which isn’t restricted to the purely western idea of it. He goes on to say “My hope with the program was to show that there is such a history in the development of any music anywhere in the world, that for any of them, there is a “classical” portion of that development.”

What made it even more special was that it was a first for Carnatic music to be performed at the Boston Conservatory. For those of you who might not be familiar with Carnatic music, it’s a form of Indian Classical Music originating from South India with the main emphasis being on melodic soloists. Let’s not forget that Carnatic music is only half of what Indian Classical music has to offer and the hope is to cover Hindustani music which comes from North India in a future series. 

The goal, as suggested by two veteran Indian Ensemble students, Shradha Ganesh and Ganesh Balasubramanian, who performed Raju Vedale and Idhudhaano Thillai Sthalam respectively, was to “inform the audience of something new, to understand the musicality of the pieces performed and to see how the audience will react.” 

As Mr. Placci eloquently put it, “I believe that music is such a primordial and essential need for human beings, that I wanted to emphasize its inevitable presence and history alongside the development of human beings anywhere in the world.” Judging from the audience’s response, it is safe to say that they achieved what they set out to do, and then some!

by Prithvi Prajosh

Gracenotes 2019 crew poses in the house frame they helped build

Raising the Roof: Reflections from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Continuing Berklee’s commitment to giving back to the community at large, the college’s Gracenotes Volunteer Committee sponsored its third annual trip to New Mexico. A group of eight staff and faculty members from the College and Conservatory traveled to Santa Fe to work on Habitat for Humanity projects promoting affordable home ownership for Santa Fe area residents. Read the volunteers’ reflection below.

Lauren Linsalata | Staff, Berklee College of Music

Lauren Linsalata headshot“Having concrete evidence of my progress at the end of the week is a big deal to me—not just because we’re building a home for someone who very much needs it. It’s a reminder of what I’m capable of, in a tangible context.”

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Why Missy Elliott’s Honorary Doctorate Means So Much

By Darcie Nicole B.M. ’01

Missy Elliott at Berklee's 2019 commencement ceremony

Image by Dave Green

“Let me just soak it in… I don’t even know how I’m standing here…” The opening of the incomparable Missy Elliott’s humble, encouraging commencement address was devoid of egotism. Those who have been at Berklee long enough also needed to soak it in. Missy tapped into the ether. How she came to be standing there was a path forged by her musical bravery, compelling creativity, and groundbreaking innovation paralleled by a foundation that was built—sometimes against the grain—at the college for nearly two decades prior.

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In Memoriam: Dave Samuels

Dear members of the Berklee community,

As you heard recently, Dave Samuels, a former longtime faculty member in Berklee’s Ensemble Department, passed away on April 22 at age 70 after a long illness.

Dave was a renowned vibraphonist and percussionist who was best known for his work over several decades with the band Spyro Gyra. He was also a member of Gerry Mulligan’s sextet, and had played with musicians such as Carla Bley, Frank Zappa, David Friedman, and Paul McCandless. He cofounded the groups Double Image, Gallery, and the Skylight Trio, and released several solo albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

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Career Jam 2019: The Rundown

Students perform during the Career Jam concertBy Alma Blum

Wow! I am really crossing my fingers that everyone was able to come through to Career Jam this past Friday…

Because Career Jam was poppin’ this year! Why, do you ask? Lemme give you the rundown:

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