Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: rock (Page 2 of 4)

rock

Ambassadors Scratch the Surface in China

By: Jason Camelio, director of international programs

One of the most exciting developments in recent years in live performance for me is the mash up between electronic and live musicians.  Being on stage with turntablists, electronic musicians, emcees and acoustic musicians playing arranged tunes or improvising opens up a range of possibilities and heightens the interactive dynamic of the moment.  We had this in mind when we asked Stephen Webber to pull together the Scratch Ambassadors for Berklee’s first official concert tour of Beijing and Shanghai.

Berklee Scratch Ambassadors perform a showcase at Alibiba outside of Shanghai.

The Ambassadors, comprised of instructor Brian “Raydar” Ellis, Yaxin “Aries” Deng, Nick “Iron Fist” Zeigler-Heil, saxophonist/vocalist Vanessa Collier and professor Stephen Webber, were supported by associate director of admissions Alexia Rosari and a host of institutions and individuals in Beijing and Shanghai.  In just under 10-days the group presented clinics, master classes and concerts at a number of venues, including; concerts and clinics at Dulwich College (Beijing and Shanghai) as part of the Diversity Project program and in honor of Daniel Pearl World Music Day for the U.S. Department of State, concerts and a video shoot for the Communications University of China, clinics and a jam with a Mongolian ensemble at the University of Culture, clinics at the Central Conservatory of Music and a concert at the campus of Alibaba outside of Shanghai.

Take a moment to check out the CTV YouKu video from Alibaba and photos from the Scratch Ambassadors Tour for more details.

As a follow up to the Berklee Scratch Ambassadors’ tour, dean of admissions Damien Bracken, professor of guitar Jim Kelly and I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai to conduct auditions and interviews and to support the Dulwich College Music Festival.  The Festival was held at the Dulwich College Shanghai Campus in Pudong where they hosted students from a number of their campuses in the region, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and others.  Students were combined into a concert choir, symphonic orchestra, big band and small rock bands.  They worked with instructors and the Berklee team for three days and then presented two nights of concerts.

Late fall on the Great Wall in mid-November.

In the fleeting moments between clinics, concerts, meetings, and auditions and interviews members of the Scratch Ambassadors and our team did manage to take in a bit of the culture.  Some of the locations included getting out to the Great Wall, visiting the Drum and Bells Towers in Beijing, taking a quick walk on the Bund and visiting Jinling Street (music street) in Shanghai. Jim even got the chance to sit in with an excellent pop cover band at the Nashville located on Lucky Street in Beijing.

The life and rich culture of China, which is moving ahead at light speed, would need a life time to truly experience.  To be honest, we barely scratched the surface.

Schooled in Groove

To many musicians, the groove is the basis of all that we do. It’s the feel; the groove moves us. As we wrapped up the last day of the Berklee Groove School program at the new campus in Valencia, the groove was in full effect.

2012 groove school dance

George Russell, Jr. wants you to feel the groove. So, get up and dance!

I do not think the students had any idea what pianist, composer and professor of harmony at Berklee George Russell, Jr. had in mind when he asked the group to get up out of their chairs and start to get their bodies in motion. The result put the icing on the cake of this 4-day program by making the students do what they had been studying over the long weekend. Shake it, baby! 

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And Mozart Went to…11!

By: Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs

Mozart would have been impressed by the rendition of Eine kleine Nachtmusik blazing through the row of Fender amplifiers lined across the stage at the Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall this afternoon. Eight exceptional Brazilian guitarist picking, hammering-on, pulling-off, swelling with their volume knobs whilst the conductor who could have passed for a rhythm guitarist for Crimson Glory waived in arms to keep time and cue the various passages screaming forth.

SL Gtr Orchestra

Ciro Visconti leads the Conservatorio Souza LIma Guitar Orchestra at Berklee.

The eight musicians are students from our Berklee International Network (BIN) partner Conservatorio Souza Lima in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The gentlemen getting the workout at the podium is Berklee alum and Souza Lima faculty member Ciro Visconti. The group is the Souza Lima Guitar Orchestra and they have been visiting Berklee this week as part of a student exchange program managed by the Office of International Programs. The Orchestra joins a group from Music Academy International (MAI), another BIN partner from Nancy, France. Six students from MAI are also visiting the colleague as part of an exchange.  They are led by Berklee alum and head sound engineer at Euro Disney Marc Sublet.

As part of the visit this year, we worked with Tim-Paul Weiner in the Concert Office to set up a performance opportunity for the Guitar Orchestra. The Orchestra uses the string orchestra model as a basis for rendering orchestral repertoire with electric guitars…through stomp boxes, through tube amplifiers. Loudly, but with finesse. This afternoon, we were treated to a concert dedicated to a reigning champ in the world of the string orchestra — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The orchestra presented the Divertimento’s in D Major, Bb Major and F Major and closed out the set with Serenade No. 13 in G Major — A Little Night Music. The crush-endos of eight guitars through amps is definitely something you should and will feel if you have the opportunity to hear a group like this perform. The exceptionally challenging music was performed mostly from memory by excellent guitarist that have had to adapt their technique and even their instruments they use to perform the pieces.

Huge thanks to Ciro and the students for their fine performance and to Mario and Cris Cunha at Souza Lima for sponsoring their groups trip to Boston for a memorable event.

Berklee Launches New Summer Program Series in Valencia

The Office of International Programs, in conjunction with Summer Programs, is excited to announce a new series of special programs to be conducted at our new campus in Valencia, Spain.  The programs will kick off this July and cover a range of musical topics.

Berklee’s Office of International Programs is known for traveling the globe to conduct music education programming at our partner institutions, world-class music festivals and prime hot spots of various music traditions.  With the opening of the Valencia campus at the Palau de les Artes Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, we now have an amazing location in Europe to host our excellent educational programs. 

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Brandi Carlile at the Berklee Performance Center

Earlier this month, well over a thousand people packed into the Berklee Performance Center, many for the first time at the venue, to see a rare, solo performance by the chart-topping singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. The sold-out show can partially be attributed to the singer’s fame with her popular songs, such as “The Story,” but also for her notoriety as an incredible performer. And the huge applause Carlile received after listing each and every Boston venue she’s played in the last decade (House of Blues, Orpheum, Paradise, etc) only reinforced the already-overwhelming anticipation for her performance.

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