Presidential Scholarships Awarded

By 
Elisabeth Nicula
December 18, 2008
Pianist Nikolaos Anadolis
Drummer Jose Andres Marquez
Drummer and percussionist Taylor Gordon
Saxophonist Jessica Lee
Saxophonist Barclay Moffitt
Bassist John Orr
Cellist Kimberly Lonetree
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Seven first-semester students have been awarded the Berklee College of Music Presidential Scholarship, a grant established to bring the world's best young musicians to study at Berklee at no cost to them or their families. Presidential Scholars attend Berklee for four years, with all tuition, housing, and fees provided. While such awards are not unknown for student athletes, this program is one of a kind at a music college.

Nikolaos Anadolis hails from Thessaloniki, Greece, where he started to play the piano and to improvise at 4. His father, a professional drummer, encouraged Anadolis to pursue music and has been a guiding force in his development. Before arriving at Berklee, Anadolis attended the Music School of Thessaloniki, studied with Margarita Efremidou at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, and took private lessons in jazz piano.  Anadolis's primary interests are classical and jazz piano styles, and musical expression and creation.

Drummer Jose Andres Marquez, of Monterrey, Mexico, began his artistic career dancing and playing in his mother's folkloric ballet company at 3, and then studying drum and Afro-Cuban percussion at 11. As a student at the Music Conservatory of Monterrey, he performed at the school's International Percussion Festival, where he shared the stage with Alvaro Lopez and Grammy Award–winner Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez. Marquez toured with the folkloric ballet Pueblo Mestizo in Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, the U.S., Italy, and Spain, and with the Conservatory's Symphony Orchestra production of The Nutcracker. He has performed as an extra percussionist with many of Monterrey's orchestras and has participated in festivals across Mexico. He also participated in the international symphonic percussion contest PERCUBA 2004 in Havana, Cuba, where he earned fourth place. 

Drummer and percussionist Taylor Gordon, of Cedar Hill, Texas, began playing drums at 2 and joined her New Orleans church band at 7. At 14, she became a member of the Cedar Hill High School drumline and the school's steel drum and jazz bands, and later she took up the marimba and other percussion instruments. Gordon received the Louis Armstrong Jazz and Outstanding Musicianship Awards from the International Association of Jazz Education and was selected to be a member of the Texas Music Educators Association All Region band. She received superior ratings for two consecutive years for marimba solos in the University Interscholastic League, and in her senior year was honored as an outstanding performer in the league's State Solo and Ensemble competition. 

Jessica Lee, of Orland Park, Illinois, began playing saxophone at 9 and gravitated to bebop, big band, and jazz in high school. At 14 she joined the Harper College Jazz Ensemble, and she has been lead alto in many other groups, including the 2008 IMEA All-State Honors Jazz Ensemble, the Carl Sandburg High School Jazz I Band, and the Merit School of Music Honors Jazz Ensemble and Honors Saxophone Quartet. Lee received awards for Outstanding Soloist at the Elmhurst Jazz Fest, Chicagoland Invitational, Rolling Meadows Jazz Festival, and Northshore Jazz Festival. She has studied with saxophonists Mark Colby and Jerry Ruthrauff, and was one of 12 students selected for the 2008 Vail Jazz Workshop.

Saxophonist Barclay Moffitt, of Pueblo, Colorado, took up the saxophone when he was 12. As a student at Centennial High School, he was selected for the All-State Jazz Band for several years. Outside of the classroom, Moffitt headed a jazz trio that performed in Colorado Springs and Denver, and volunteered his time as a musician at his local church. Moffitt attended the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and when he found out that one of his favorite tenor players was giving a clinic at Berklee's Saxophone Weekend, he signed up and went to Boston. He arrived at Berklee having already studied with Lee Konitz, Joshua Redman, Greg Gisbert, Richard Davis, John Gunther, Mark Turner, Phil Grenadier, Jerry Bergonzi, and countless other jazz legends.

Jazz bassist John Orr, of Bradenton, Florida, began playing piano at 8. After a few years of lessons, he joined his middle school jazz band, first as a trumpeter and later as the group's bassist. His love for jazz bass led him to the visual and performing arts program at Booker High School, where he studied with jazz band director Ned Rosenblatt. In his junior and senior years as a member of Booker's jazz combo, he competed at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival. Both years, his group won first place and Orr took home outstanding musician awards. He also took part in a selective music competition at Carnegie Hall as a member of his school's wind ensemble. 

Kimberly Lonetree of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, took up the cello at 10 and attended Reedsburg Area High School until her sophomore year. She then completed high school at Interlochen Arts Academy. After participating in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra for four years, she ultimately toured portions of Europe in the orchestra's highest-level group. As a senior she started playing classic rock and jazz on the cello and has worked with accomplished improvisatory and crossover string musicians such as the Turtle Island String Quartet, Matt Turner, the Enso String Quartet, and others. In addition, Lonetree attended the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and music camps at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and others.

Diversity and opportunity are the twin pillars of the Presidential Scholarship initiative. "As a private college, we're expensive for a family without a lot of income," says Berklee President Roger H. Brown. "The added challenges in this difficult time might make higher education seem inaccessible to a student. If we want to continue to be the place where the finest contemporary musicians gather regardless of socioeconomic status, we have to work to make sure it's possible for them to get here, and then stay here."

Presidential Scholarships were first awarded for students attending in the fall of 2005, and more are added annually. There are currently 24 Presidential Scholars studying at Berklee. The college's board of trustees believes so deeply in the initiative that it has approved the use of $1.5 million from the college's endowment to fund the program.

To be considered for a Presidential Scholarship, students must audition through Berklee's existing scholarship audition program. Those who are identified as full-tuition scholarship candidates based on musical merit will be invited to submit a federal financial aid form. Those that demonstrate need will be considered for a Presidential Scholarship. To apply, students should call the Berklee Scholarships Office at 617 747-8681 or email scholarships@berklee.edu. Applications can be found in the Scholarships section of Berklee's website at berklee.edu.