After lengthy flight delays due to fog shutting down the airport, we all arrived in Istanbul Saturday evening (one of us sans luggage – a situation that wasn’t rectified until more than a day later…). Berklee is here in this beautiful city rich with music, culture, and history for the first time conducting A&I events at the Modern Muzik Akademisi (MMA).The team includes myself, Sam Skau, Michael Shaver, Stephen Croes, Michael Farquharson, and students Emir Cerman, and Ekin Cengizkan.
MMA is a four year old institution, led by director Bora Uslusoy, that offers a one-year full-time certificate program, weekend classes, and accelerated summer study geared towards people aiming to be professional musicians. The Berklee team met with MMA faculty and administrators yesterday to exchange curriculum ideas and go over logistics for the week’s events, like how to conduct auditions with an acoustic piano while not disrupting MMA’s regular classes. Solution: a piano provided by Do-Re Music Company via Yamaha Music of Central Europe.
The events today and tomorrow include an information session, audition preparation sessions, clinics on arranging, production, and music technology, and a jam session. This all before the auditions even begin. It’s about halfway through today’s sessions and the excitement is through the roof!
The audience is larger than expected, filling every seat of the MMA’s performance hall, and many more standing wherever they can find a spot. Interest in Berklee is very high. When asked by show of hands if they were planning to audition in the following days, in the morning about half of the audience raised their hands. By the end of the session, many had changed their minds, no doubt due to the presentations by Skau, Farquharson, and Croes. More on this to come…