Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: scholarships (Page 1 of 5)

scholarships

Student Post: Friendliness, Generosity and Kindness Abroad

Drum principal and professional performance major, Elena Bonomo ’14, blogs about the recent BIN visit to Kuala Lumpur’s International College of Music. 

Guitarist and electronic production and design major Annie Grunwald (`13) and drummer and professional performance major Elena Bonomo (`14) back stage at KLPAC.

Guitarist and electronic production and design major Annie Grunwald (`13) and drummer and professional performance major Elena Bonomo (`14) back stage at KLPAC.

Having the chance to perform in Malaysia was one of the best experiences of my life! At the start of our journey, Annie (Grunwald) and I had no idea what to expect. Neither of us had ever traveled so far from home before! As soon as we were introduced to the students from International College Music (ICOM), we knew that this trip was going to be special.

Our first days were spent rehearsing with the girls for the Tribute to Classic Rock Concert. Annie and I were part of the “Women In Rock” portion of the show (the other two sets were tributes to American Rock and British Rock). The rehearsal process was one of the most intense that I’ve ever experienced. We ran through our set, performed numerous sound checks, learned the stage blocking, got fitted for costumes, ran dress rehearsals, and received notes from the directors and producers of the show. The attention to detail (from the monitor levels, to the video angles and lighting cues, to the stage blocking, to the sound in the house) was at a level that I never experienced before. Everyone who was responsible for producing the show really did an amazing job ensuring that every single aspect of the show was perfect.

I had such a fun time performing in the two concerts! The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center (KLPAC) was such a beautiful venue in which to perform. What really amazed me was the fact that everyone who performed in the show also doubled as a guitar tech, drum tech, etc. And many of them played multiple instruments during the show! It was hard to tell which one was their principle instrument, since they were all equally amazing on everything that they played. Many of the students also ran sound and lighting, which can be such a hard task, given that there were three different sets with multiple instrument changes. It was really an honor to share the stage with such talented musicians! We really appreciate that the students from ICOM let us be part of a show that was so special to them.  They had been working on this show for 3 months before we got there.

Annie Grunwald (guitar - Left) and Elena Bonomo (drum set) performing at the 2013 ICOM Celebration Series - Classic Rock Showcase at KLPAC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Annie Grunwald (guitar – Left) and Elena Bonomo (drum set) performing at the 2013 ICOM Celebration Series – Classic Rock Showcase at KLPAC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Along with performing in the two tribute concerts, we also had some time to explore the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur. We visited the Batu Caves (and became best friends with the monkeys), shopped at Central Market, visited some malls, and ate a tasty banana leaf dinner in Bangsar Village. The girls had been telling us about how we just HAD to try banana leaf since the first day we got there — and wow, it was so worth it! It’s basically a ton of spicy chicken, lamb, fish, rice and vegetables that are served family style, on top of a banana leaf! And you’re supposed to eat it with your hands. It was definitely messy, but so worth it!

Traveling to Malaysia was one of the best experiences of my life, and I will remember it forever. In just a week, we made such close friends and it was hard to say goodbye. Even though we were halfway across the world, everyone that we met made us feel right at home. We were so humbled by the friendliness, generosity, and genuine kindness of everyone we met at ICOM. I look forward to working with all of these talented people someday in the future, and also seeing some of them at Berklee next year! I hope that someday we will get a chance to repay them for all that they did for us. Many thanks to ICOM president Miss Irene (Savari), ICOM vice president Dato’ Ravi (Savari), professor of music technology Mr. Nilesh (Thomas), Roger Brown, Tod Oliviere and the Scholarship Office, Jason Camelio, and everyone who made this trip possible! I am truly honored to have been part of such an amazing journey.”

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. 

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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.

Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition

Tod Oliviere, Berklee Director of Scholarships and Student Employment, blogs about the Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition in Santo Domingo. For more info on scholarships, check out www.berklee.edu/scholarships.

Michel Camilo jams with one of the applicants.

The second edition of the Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday and Friday, June 7th & 8th.  I traveled with Greg Badolato, Assistant Vice President of International Programs and Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs to conduct the auditions and interviews for aspiring Dominican musicians to compete for the prestigious Michel Camilo Scholarship, which covers full tuition to Berklee, housing, and the laptop fee.

Over sixty students submitted an application with a demo CD and we selected the top thirty-one musicians to compete for this scholarship, as well as other partial scholarships to Berklee.  We were privileged to have Michel Camilo himself participate in the audition process, and he even played with a couple of the students.  What a treat for those students!  Many of the students were humbled by the opportunity to perform for such a master musician, which also provided them with incredible motivation to continue to improve their skills as young musicians.

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