The Business of Valencia

By
Danielle Dreilinger
September 30, 2011
The international music business semester will give undergrads the chance to study at Berklee in Valencia, which opened this summer with a series of workshops.
Berklee in Valencia is housed at the ultramodern Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in the historic musical city.
Photo by Alberto Hidalgo
Photo by Alberto Hidalgo

Over the last year or so, there's been a lot of buzz at the college about Berklee's sparkling new campus in Valencia, Spain, on the Mediterranean rim. The first workshops took place there this summer. But until this month, students didn't know they'd have the chance to study at Berklee in Valencia themselves.

So it was no surprise to find a packed house at David Friend Recital Hall September 21 for the first information session about the new international music business studies semester abroad.

Questions flew fast and furious to Allen Bargfrede, a music business faculty member who's relocating to Valencia full-time come January.

Berklee already has two study-abroad programs at partner schools: Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens and the International Music College in Freiburg, Germany. However, neither is targeted to a particular major. International music business studies is open only to Berklee music business or professional music majors who meet the course prerequisites. In fact, the only non-business course in the program is an optional class in basic Spanish. 

The Valencia campus will also eventually offer a master's degree in global entertainment and music business.

Bargfrede stressed the semester-abroad program's global focus. The classes will be taught by European faculty members. Students will attend MIDEM, the biggest music industry conference in the world, and have the chance to intern over the summer at European companies. "It really gives you the opportunity to focus on international careers," he said. "You're going to do something a little bit different."

As far as logistics, as with the other study-abroad semesters, students will pay their usual tuition directly to Berklee; their eligibility for grants and scholarships won't be affected. The schedule is even designed so that seniors will have time to fly back to Boston for graduation. "Everything's going to run the same," Bargfrede said, "although you will wake up in 62-degree weather instead of minus 15." He hopes to have 20 to 30 participants for spring 2012.

Judging from the response in the room, applications were soon to follow.

"I'm definitely looking into it," said third-semester music business major Haven Belke. "Getting a whole different perspective would be awesome." Whether or not she pursues an international career, "it'd be nice to have options, and it would look really good on a resumé." 

Cato Stevens, a sixth-semester music business major, was excited by the prospect. "I haven't been out of the States, and I'm just itching to get out," she said. "I'm fluent in Spanish . . . [and] it's in my major." And she agreed with Belke that "Even if I decide to stay in the States . . . the broader your experience is, the more hireable you are."

There's no application fee, Bargfrede said, so "if you're interested in this program, there's no reason not to apply." The deadline is October 21.