Tag Archives: india

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

Final days in India—with the composer of Slumdog Millionnaire

To round off his trip, Berklee film scoring chair met famed composer A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionnaire fame, and reports on his efforts to promote musicianship in Chennai.

India Trip Conclusion (Feb. 16, 17, 18)

Tuesday morning marked our second day of Mumbai auditions. (Michael and I were greatly relieved to discover that the maintenance crew at the audition building had worked through the night to fix the air-conditioning.) Again we heard a wide range of student presentations—including a couple of really extraordinary performances. To the extent our India travels were initiated with the goal of finding talented Indian students who would thrive at Berklee, this trip has been a clear success.

During the lunch break, I left my colleagues and headed to the Mumbai airport for Chennai (Madras). I was welcomed most warmly by Srini Krishnan, provost of the KM Music Conservatory. His driver delivered us to the home and studio of A.R. Rahman, the Oscar/Grammy-winning composer of the film Slumdog Millionaire. Continue reading

India, days 9+10: Auditioning students in Mumbai

Film scoring chair Dan Carlin sends his next-to-last dispatch from Berklee’s big trip to India.

Greetings from Chennai, India,

Instead of spending Sunday with our Valentines in and around Boston, my colleagues and I presented four clinics and a panel to interested musicians and students at the Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai (or, Bombay, as most of the natives call it). We explored aspects of ear training, improvisation, modal patterns, film scoring, and music education. It was a long and rewarding day, and those in attendance were welcoming, receptive, and inquisitive. Continue reading

India, days 7+8: On to Mumbai

Dan Carlin, Berklee chair of film scoring, writes in from the college’s first audition and interview trip to India:

India, Days 7 & 8 (February 12, 13, 2010)

Yesterday, our team of 6 packed up early and headed to the New Delhi airport for the flight to Mumbai. The flight is two hours long, but the really interesting part is the last half hour when we get back under cloud cover to see the countryside, which is visually stunning. The mountains are extremely jagged; there is a dam, there are lakes and rivers, there are farms, then slums, then the city itself, and, finally, there is the Arabian Sea. The air is much cleaner in Mumbai than in New Delhi.

Stepping off the plane, the differences between the two cities become more exaggerated; here there are palm trees, ocean breezes, and a casualness lacking in the more frenetic and commercial New Delhi (see below). Even though New Delhi is India’s capital, Mumbai is the home of the great museums, sculptures, art galleries, concert halls, and movie studios. Continue reading

India, days 5+6: In the audition room

Dan Carlin, Berklee’s chair of film scoring, reports.

Feb. 10–11: Over the past two days, we’ve held Berklee auditions at the Performers Collective here in Gurgaon, India. The demand was so great that, instead of working in shifts, our two audition teams were forced to double-book. In addition, this necessitated our corralling David McKay (Berklee’s vice president of institutional advancement) into performing interviews to handle the overflow.

On Wednesday, I teamed with Gregorio “The Great” Badolato. We saw a wide range of student musicians, some performing traditional ethnic music, some singing jazz or pop tunes, some spicing up Indian ragas with western harmonics, some playing the blues. Continue reading