Author Archives: jcamelio

Following Our Alumni to Hong Kong and Singapore

Post by Jason Camelio, director of international programs.

In recent years, our eyes and ears have been turning to eastern Asia for new sounds, approaches to the business of music and especially to the wealth of young talent that is exploding there.  Berklee has strong partner institutions already located in Korea, Japan and Malaysia.  Building on this success, we are expanding our recruitment, outreach and branding into locations in China, India and Singapore.  One of the most successful ways we have been able to connect with new regions and communities is through our alumni.  In January, chair of contemporary writing and production Matthew Nicholl, assistant director of admissions Pearly Lee and I had the chance to return to Hong Kong and Singapore to meet with our alumni, present clinics and information sessions and conduct auditions and interviews.  Continue reading

New Soul in Seoul Jazz Academy

By: Jason Camelio, director of international programs

As we close in on the last leg of the 2012-2013 recruitment season, I see that it is a good idea to take a moment to share news from around the Berklee world.  Here is the first in a series of updates about some great happenings in Berklee’s expansive network.

In late October we made our annual visit to our Berklee International Network (BIN) partner the Seoul Jazz Academy (SJA).  Visiting Seoul and SJA is one of the major highlights of the year because of the rich community of excellent musicians in Korea, the success of our alumni and because Seoul Jazz Academy — already a very hip place — has just gotten hipper.  In 2012 SJA came under new management and has undergone a significant renovation.

Berklee team with the new leadership of Seoul Jazz Academy.

With the number of talented, young Korean musicians interested in Berklee on the rise, we needed to take a larger team to SJA to present clinics, perform a concert with faculty members and students and to conduct the auditions and interviews.  The team was comprised of assistant director of admissions Pearly Lee, associate professor of ensembles Skip Smith, professor of ear training Rick DiMuzio, assistant chair of guitar Rick Peckham, vice president of enrollment Mark Campbell and myself.  Sessions were presented on a range of topics including practice techniques, small group improvisation, ensemble playing, composition and arranging, preparing for an audition and more.  The events were closed out with a faculty showcase and students from SJA joining us on stage for a jam.

For 15-years SJA has been a partner with Berklee and a member of the BIN.  In that time, the institution has done excellent work in training young musicians for careers in music and preparing them for transferring to Berklee.  The results can be seen in the fine alumni, many of whom have returned to Korea to work in the vibrant music industry there.  With new blood flowing in the veins at SJA we are excited for the future.

For more details about the happenings in Korea, I encourage you to read Mark Small’s feature in the Berklee Today alumni magazine.

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.

When LA and NYC Came to Valencia – Re:Tool 2012

2012retoolgroup1cropBy: Jason Camelio, director of international programs

There was a new sound echoing in the halls of the Berklee Valencia campus this weekend. First you felt the kick. Then you heard the snare. The bass hit you in the your gut and made you want to move. Rhymes flew by at light speed with tasty turntable fills and horn and synth lines filling the air. As you peeked through the doorway of B-81, Needle-Juice, Raydar, The One and Kai are “holding forth” in an epic scene that brings world class producers, DJ, MCs, composers, electronic artists together from Los Angeles, New York and Boston to teach a group of students from 13 countries to learn the craft of utilizing music technology in production and live performance.

For me, this is a long time coming. I have had the amazing fortune of knowing, listening to, learning from and performing with these amazing teachers and musicians. Having traveled with them separately to many places around the world, I thought it would be incredibly hip to bring them all together for the first time at the new campus in Valencia, Spain. Let me introduce this amazing crew of the 2012 Re:Tool program.

• Professor of Music Production and Engineering Stephen Webber (aka Needle Juice)
• Berklee Alum, Faculty Member in the Ensemble and Songwriter Departments and Artist in New York City Brian Ellis (aka Raydar)
• Berklee Alum, Assistant Professor of Electronic Production and Design Kai Turnbull
• Grammy Award Winner Producer, Berklee Alum and Artist based in Los Angeles Dawaun Parker (aka The One)
2012retooldemoThe experience levels of the students in the program have run the gamut for those just beginning to approach the world of technology in music to those that are working a DJs and electronic musicians. The students have been treated to an amazing series of lectures, master classes and a faculty showcase. The topics ranged from Listen Like a Producer to the Art of the DJ to production master classes where the faculty members listen too and critiqued student works. Stephen Webber also show a pre-pre-premiere of his truly innovative Stylus Symphony. Additionally, the attendees had the chance to get their hands dirty with some amazing new gear — both analogue and digital.  Huge thanks goes to Stephen for working closely with Berklee Alum Tony Lamond and everyone at Numark-Alesis-Akai for sponsoring the program.

2012retoolgroup2

Raydar Ellis, Stephen Webber, Dawaun Parker, Jason Camelio, Carlos Ballester, Greg Badolato and Kai Turnbull (not in picture Sam Skau) - 2012 Re:Tool Crew.

Re:Tool is the last in the series of 4 programs produced by the Office of International Programs with the help of our colleagues in the Office of Summer Programs at the new campus in Valencia this summer. Most gracious thanks to all of the faculty members, artists and staff members that supported this event. It has been an amazingly collaborative experience.

Keep your eyes open for more International Programs coming up later this summer, fall and next spring. A few things are on the books, including Hong Kong, Helsinki and Sao Paulo. As detailed come available, we will blast them out. Be sure to connect with is on Facebook.”

Improvising Global Connections

By Jason Camelio, director of international programs.

Art of Improvisation Global Connection

Lollapalooza - Brazil award winner Sarah Messias and Ipshita Roy from India hang with Rick Peckham after the Art of Improvisation afternoon master class.

The afternoon session at the end of the first day of the Art of Improvisation: Blues and Jazz program was coming to an end. As the room began to clear an oddly familiar — in the land of Berklee — event took place. Two young women were having a discussion with assistant chair of the guitar department, Rick Peckham. This is fairly common. It gets interesting when you learn about the two talented musicians speaking with Rick.

First, we have a young Brazilian Blues vocalist and harp player Sarah Messias. Sarah is the winner of the 2012 Lollapalooza – Brazil Scholarship. The award affords her the chance to attend the Art of Improvisation program at no cost! Her peer is also a talented young Blues vocalist from India, Ipshita Roy. Both musicians are enjoying some level of musical success in their home countries. Both have traveled a great distance to the new campus in Valencia to make this connection.

For some, this would be the makings a fine Odd Couples sequel. But, for those of us at Berklee it is just another day in the classroom. The exceptions being that these two musicians totally ROCKED it during the afternoon master class.  Continue reading