Clinics and Master Classes

Eric and Suzy Thompson Clinic

Friday / April 8, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Oliver Colvin Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

Eric and Suzy Thompson are virtuoso performers of American roots music: old-time Appalachian ballads and breakdowns, classic blues and jug band songs, bluegrass hot licks, and Louisiana Cajun dance music. Eric's flatpicking on guitar and mandolin is exceptional for its purity of tone, speed, and soulfulness; Suzy is a powerful blues singer, an award-winning fiddler, and a Cajun accordion player who apprenticed with older Louisiana Cajun musicians under an NEA Fellowship. Eric and Suzy were founding members of many influential roots music groups, including the Black Mountain Boys, Any Old Time, and the California Cajun Orchestra, and have worked with Jerry Garcia, Maria Muldaur, David Grisman, Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, the Savoy Doucet Cajun Trio, and many other fine roots musicians.

Eric Thompson has been considered a pioneer in the bluegrass guitar world since his teenage years in Palo Alto, California in the early 1960s, at a time when very few folk guitarists were playing more than basic rhythm guitar. Among his earliest bands were the Black Mountain Boys (with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson) and Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. He quickly became nationally known as an exceptional lead flatpicker, winning the World Championship Cup at Union Grove, North Carolina with the New York Ramblers (which also included David Grisman and Winnie Winston) and flying to Nashville, Tennessee to record Beatle Country with the Charles River Valley Boys.

During the later 1960s and 1970s, Eric continued to play old-time music, recording with Mike Seeger, Jody Stecher, Dr. Humbead's New Tranquility String Band, and the Spare Change Boys. He took up the tenor banjo, organized the Graineog Celidh Band around two master musicians from County Clare (Joe Cooley and Kevin Keegan) and spent six months in the west of Ireland, visiting and learning from older traditional musicians there.

In 1977, Eric recorded his first solo LP, Bluegrass Guitar, featuring an all-star band including David Grisman and Tony Rice; it has been reissued (with additional duet tracks with David Grisman) as Thompson's Real. A duet album with guitarist Alan Senauke, Two Guitars, featured a more
eclectic mix, ranging from American bluegrass to Irish reels to Greek rembetika, prefiguring today's world music genre.

In the 1980s Eric toured extensively nationwide and abroad with the Blue Flame Stringband (with Kate Brislin, Alan Senauke, and Suzy Thompson) and the Backwoods Band, recording with both bands. Between tours, he traveled to southwest Louisiana, pursuing his newest musical interest, Cajun music. In 1983 he formed the California Cajun Orchestra and appears on their two award-winning Arhoolie CDs. More recently he has recorded with the Todalo Shaker and the Bluegrass Intentions. Eric appears as a sideman on recordings by Mike Seeger, Alice Gerrard, the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Mac Benford, Jody Stecher, and Frankie Armstrong, among others. His most recent CD is Kleptograss with Jody Stecher, Scott Nygaard, Paul Shelasky, and Paul Knight, which was released in December 2010 and is receiving national airplay.

A knowledgeable and patient teacher, Eric has been a staff member at Kamp Kaufman, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Bluff Country Gathering, Augusta Heritage Old-Time and Cajun-Creole Weeks, Port Townsend Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, and Lark in the Morning. His instructional videos are distributed by Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop. Eric is featured in the Mel Bay book Flatpicking 2000 and is the coauthor of Bluegrass Guitar (Backbeat Publications.)

Suzy Thompson was dubbed "a torchbearer for traditional music in the Bay Area" by SingOut! Magazine. A founder and/or member of many of the Bay Area's most influential roots music groups, including Any Old Time String Band, the Klezmorim, and the California Cajun Orchestra, Suzy studied classical violin as a child and taught herself to play the guitar at age 12. At age 18, she became interested in traditional American fiddle music and began making a specialty of older blues- and ragtime-influenced fiddle styles of players such as Arthur Smith, Doc Roberts, and the East Texas Serenaders, learning tunes from old 78s and from field recordings.

In 1976, Suzy formed the all-woman Any Old Time String Band, touring throughout California and recording for Arhoolie. She was also briefly a member of the Klezmorim, and appears on their second album, Streets of Gold. Other recording credits include work with Geoff Muldaur and the Texas Sheiks (with Jim Kweskin), Dave Alvin, Maria Muldaur, Laurie Lewis, Alice Gerrard, Darol Anger, Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin, and the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, among others. Suzy has released two solo cds: Stop and Listen (Arhoolie) and No Mockingbird (Native and Fine). Her most recent recording is Hen Party, a duet album with Del Rey, released in fall 2010.

In 1976, Suzy's interest in Cajun music was sparked by seeing the Balfa Brothers perform. She travelled to southwest Louisiana, receiving an NEA Fellowship in 1980 to apprentice with Master Cajun musician Dewey Balfa; she also studied with Cajun fiddle legends Dennis McGee, Cheese Read, and Wade Fruge. The 1980s saw Suzy touring and recording with the Blue Flame Stringband and the Backwoods Band, including several appearances on the Prairie Home Companion radio show.

In 1983, Suzy formed the California Cajun Orchestra, featuring Louisiana-born accordionist Danny Poullard; both of the CCO's CDs won national awards, including an NAIRD Indie for Best Cajun- Zydeco Album. Suzy has performed with many of Louisiana's finest Cajun musicians, including D.L. Menard, Michael Doucet and Beausoleil, Dewey Balfa, and Marc and Ann Savoy. She appears in Les Blank's film on Cajun and Zydeco music, J'ai Été au Bal.

Suzy coproduced and served as musical consultant for Yasha Aginsky's documentary film about the New Lost City Ramblers, Always Been a Rambler (2009). She represented the U.S. on a Masters of the Folk Violin Tour in Scotland and England and has been an instructor at many festivals and music camps, including Augusta Heritage Cajun-Creole and Old Time Weeks, Centrum Blues Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, Port Townsend Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Lark in the Morning. From time to time she writes for Strings Magazine on traditional American fiddle styles and is a regular reviewer for the Old-Time Herald.

In 2010, Suzy was appointed artistic director of the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, a week-long workshop and festival in Port Townsend Washington, now in its 34th year. In 2003, she founded the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, a five-day festival that brings together old-time musicians from far and wide to play, sing, listen, learn, teach, dance, and celebrate the rich heritage of America's traditional music. She continues to serve as director of the BOTMC, now in its ninth year.

Admission: 

Paul Rishell Clinic

Friday / March 25, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

For over 40 years, Paul Rishell has built up a stellar reputation as a torchbearer of the country blues tradition. At concerts and workshops alike, his audiences and students have been treated to his warm, resonant voice and virtuoso fingerstyle guitar, interwoven with a historical narrative of rural blues artists and recordings. Rishell has dedicated his life for the last half century to bringing recognition and respect to prewar blues, what he refers to as "the bedrock of all American music." A master of the guitar styles of Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Boy Fuller, Scrapper Blackwell, and other  innovators of the early-20th-century roots music, he is one of the few artists devoted to preserving their work as both a classical and a living form. His attention to detail and nuance is unparalleled. In 2011-2012, Rishell will bring his expertise to Berklee as part of a newly established country blues visiting artist program.

Rishell was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950, his family an improbable mixture of Pennsylvania preachers and Norwegian painters. At the age of 13, captivated by a recording of Son House singing "Prison Farm Blues," he began a lifelong study of the music and its progenitors. In 1970 he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and played with many of the first- and second-generation blues masters, including Son House, Sonny Terry, Johnny Shines, John Lee Hooker, and Howlin' Wolf. His early solo albums showcase his deft guitar playing and link the acoustic blues of the 1920s with the electrified ensemble sounds of the modern era. Boston Phoenix columnist Ted Drozdowski wrote, "Paul has reached a place deep and resonant as Robert Johnson's crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays."  

Rishell and his partner Annie Raines have earned loyal fans around the globe, dazzling audiences with his rhythmic, syncopated National Steel guitar and Raines's harmonica wizardry. As a working team, Rishell and Raines have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on the road in the U.S. and Europe, collaborated on original songs, and released five albums together, including Moving to the Country (2000), the W.C. Handy Award-winner for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. They have performed on diverse radio and TV shows, including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and PBS's Arthur and they are featured in the new jug band music documentary, Chasin' Gus' Ghost. Rishell's instructional video, Dirt Road Blues, was released in 2008 with detailed demonstrations and transcriptions of country blues classics.  

Rishell is that rare combination of performer and scholar. As a guitar teacher, he has shared his vast knowledge of fingerstyle techniques and regional styles with several generations of guitarists and afficionados. As a blues singer, he never fails to move his audience to tears. As a cultural historian and preservationist, he is a national resource.

Admission: 

Swiss Chris Clinic with the Hip-Hop Ensemble

Thursday / March 24, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

Christoph Flueck, a.k.a. Swiss Chris, earned his diploma in performance from Berklee, then went on to study at the Drummers Collective in New York with Kim Plainfield and Frank Katz. Swiss completed a successful four years as the music director and Grammy Award–winning drummer for John Legend.

Swiss has played in multiple tours of the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. He has worked with artists including Common, Gloria Gaynor, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Sir Elton John, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West. He received multiple awards and honors as a marching band, big band, and contemporary jazz drummer as well as earning a humanitarian award from his homeland of Switzerland. 

Swiss believes in continuous education and is a lifelong drum student under diverse teachers such as Kenwood Dennard, Skip Hadden, and Joe Morello. His prolific styles include funk, hip-hop, R&B, soul, blues, Latin, African, Haitian, and broken-eighth note jazz. He was featured on BET as the musical director/drummer for the Ed Gordon Show. Swiss was the musical director and house drummer for the legendary Lyricist Lounge. He has worked for multiple fundraiser and charity events with the political activist group Earthdriver. He has performed at countless famous venues including the Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Hall under the direction of Philip Glass.

 Swiss is in the process of completing a book and is actively involved with his organization S.W.I.S.S. (Saving with Instruments, Samples, and Soundz), which is dedicated to teaching how to resolve conflicts through peaceful means with the use of instruments, and motivational education through music and sound. Television appearances include MTV Video Music Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony, David Letterman, and Oprah. Swiss Chris endorses Natal Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Aquarian Drumheads, Hansenfutz Foot Pedals, Alesis/Akai Electronics, CAT Mics, Apple, and Ableton and Propellerhead software.

 

 

Admission: 

Swiss Chris Clinic: Drum Set/Technology

Wednesday / March 23, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

Christoph Flueck, a.k.a. Swiss Chris, earned his diploma in performance from Berklee, then went on to study at the Drummers Collective in New York with Kim Plainfield and Frank Katz. Swiss completed a successful four years as the music director and Grammy Award–winning drummer for John Legend.

Swiss has played in multiple tours of the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. He has worked with artists including Common, Gloria Gaynor, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Sir Elton John, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West. He received multiple awards and honors as a marching band, big band, and contemporary jazz drummer as well as earning a humanitarian award from his homeland of Switzerland. 

Swiss believes in continuous education and is a lifelong drum student under diverse teachers such as Kenwood Dennard, Skip Hadden, and Joe Morello. His prolific styles include funk, hip-hop, R&B, soul, blues, Latin, African, Haitian, and broken-eighth note jazz. He was featured on BET as the musical director/drummer for the Ed Gordon Show. Swiss was the musical director and house drummer for the legendary Lyricist Lounge. He has worked for multiple fundraiser and charity events with the political activist group Earthdriver. He has performed at countless famous venues including the Apollo Theater, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Hall under the direction of Philip Glass.

Swiss is in the process of completing a book and is actively involved with his organization S.W.I.S.S. (Saving with Instruments, Samples, and Soundz), which is dedicated to teaching how to resolve conflicts through peaceful means with the use of instruments, and motivational education through music and sound. Television appearances include MTV Video Music Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony, David Letterman, and Oprah. Swiss Chris endorses Natal Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Aquarian Drumheads, Hansenfutz Foot Pedals, Alesis/Akai Electronics, CAT Mics, Apple, and Ableton and Propellerhead software.

Admission: 

Asim Gorashi and Mohamed Eltayeb: Traditional Sudanese Music

Wednesday / March 30, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Berk Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

Asim Gorashi holds a bachelor's degree in music composition from the University of Sudan. A multi-instrumentalist, Gorashi focuses on the oud (Arabic lute) and violin; he sings and also plays keyboards, Sudanese traditional tamboor, mandolin, and viola.

Gorashi has lived and worked in Cairo, where he played with the mysterious maverick of Egyptian jazz Fathy Salama. He has arranged Sudanese folkloric songs in 10 different languages and performed at numerous events including Khartoum International Festival, Djibouti Fest'Horn, Galaa Festival (Egypt), Mela Festival in Norway, and Woodford Folk Festival. He is regularly joined by musicians with whom he has been collaborating in Sydney for the past three years. Gorashi currently lives in Brisbane doing postgraduate research at Queensland Conservatorium.

Mohamed Eltayeb is a student at Berklee. He learned the fundamentals of piano at age of 5. His father, the legendary Sudanese musician and singer Abu Araki Albakhit, has guided him through his musical journey. At the age of 15 Eltayeb started to perform as a leading musician. He has being performing ever since, mainly with his father but also with various other artists, including his band Doash.

 

Admission: 

John Mayer Clinic

Friday / March 11, 2011 / 10:00 a.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston
MA
United States
02115

John Mayer returns to campus to offer a clinic exclusively to Berklee students.

Admission: 

Berklee in Stockholm

Wednesday / April 6, 2011 / 2:00 p.m.
Södra Latins Gymnasium—Upper Secondary School
United States

Berklee's Office of International Programs presents a series of clinics and master classes at Södra Latin in Stockholm. Our host will be alumna Johanna Grüssner.

  • Styles and Improvisation
    Presented by Jim Odgren
  • Comping and Small Band Performance
    Presented by Greg Wardson
  • Road Map for the Writer/Arranger
    Presented by Jason Camelio
  • Introduction to Music Therapy
    Presented by Davis Wimberly

Note: Schedule subject to change. Please sign up with Ylva Jonsson Runa at ylva.jonsson-runa@stockholm.se.

Admission: 
Free!

Percussion Days: Steve Bolognese—A Pragmatic Approach to Functioning within the Heavy Metal Genre

Friday / April 1, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Oliver Colvin Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

A heavy metal drum set clinic featuring the music of Into Eternity. Topics include the drummer's role, common time feels, vocabulary needed for functioning within the style, double bass applications, active listening, and more.

Admission: 

Berklee in Stockholm

Wednesday / April 6, 2011 / 10:30 a.m.
Södra Latins Gymnasium—Upper Secondary School
United States

Berklee's Office of International Programs presents a series of clinics and master classes at Södra Latin in Stockholm. Our host will be alumna Johanna Grüssner.

  • Styles and Improvisation
    Presented by Jim Odgren
  • Comping and Small Band Performance
    Presented by Greg Wardson
  • Road Map for the Writer/Arranger
    Presented by Jason Camelio
  • Introduction to Music Therapy
    Presented by Davis Wimberly

Note: Schedule subject to change. Please sign up with Ylva Jonsson Runa at ylva.jonsson-runa@stockholm.se.

Admission: 
Free!

Berklee in Stockholm

Tuesday / April 5, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.
Södra Latins Gymnasium—Upper Secondary School
United States

Berklee's Office of International Programs presents a series of clinics and master classes at Södra Latin in Stockholm. Our host will be alumna Johanna Grüssner.

  • Berklee College of Music Information Session and How to Prepare for an Audition
    Presented by Jason Camelio and Davis Wimberly

Note: Schedule subject to change. Please sign up with Ylva Jonsson Runa at ylva.jonsson-runa@stockholm.se.

Admission: 
Free!

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