Lollapalooza Partnership Results in Scholarships and Performance

By 
Margot Edwards
June 26, 2012
Jenny Dinh
David Stewart
Red Oblivion
Berklee student plays with Kidzapalooza attendee at silent concert during Lollapalooza 2011.
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Margot Edwards

A partnership between Lollapalooza, one of the premier music festivals in the world, and Berklee College of Music, the leading college for contemporary music, has resulted in scholarship awards for two outstanding young musicians. Vocalist and guitarist David Stewart is the first recipient of the Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship, a four-year, full tuition award that will bring him to Berklee in the fall. Singer-songwriter Jenny Dinh has been awarded the Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship to attend the college's summer program in July. The partnership also gives Berklee student band Red Oblivion the opportunity to perform at the renowned festival, and offers students an internship at Kidzapalooza.

Lollapalooza 2012, August 3-5 at Grant Park in Chicago, features Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Black Sabbath, Jack White, Florence + the Machine, At the Drive-In, Bassnectar, Avicii, Justice, The Shins, Passion Pit, and many more.

This exciting partnership is the first educational initiative of its kind for Lollapalooza. "The essence of Lollapalooza is about artist discovery and providing opportunity for emerging bands to reach new audiences," said Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell. "This partnership provides young musicians with a chance to polish their skills on their way to performing on the main stage."

"It's been in the works for so long, it's nice to see it come together," said Professor Jeff Dorenfeld, who developed the partnership between Berklee and Lollapalooza producers C3 Presents. "It'll be exciting to see what happens the next few years as they grow as artists; it's like planting seeds."

Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship

After an exhaustive search process that included auditions in 20 cities across the U.S. in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012, Berklee chose vocalist and guitarist David Stewart, of Pompano Beach, Florida, to receive the full tuition Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship. The selection committee chose Stewart based on his outstanding musicianship. In the spirit of Lollapalooza, the college aimed to find not only an exceptional talent, but also a musician with charisma, energy, and a strong interest in rock music who aspires to a performance career.

Stewart came to the U.S. from Lima, Peru at 9 and learned about Berklee from Peruvian music star Gian Marco early in high school. He then attended the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he excelled and was awarded a scholarship to return the following summer. Lollapalooza has been a musical inspiration for Stewart. "It's because of people who perform there like Jack White, Foo Fighters, Jane's Addiction, and so many other great bands, that I do what I do, and write how I write," he said.

At 18, Stewart has already written over 80 original compositions in genres spanning rock, pop, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, reggae, and instrumental film scores. Stewart recently released Red Lipstick, a self-produced EP on which he played all of the instruments. He plans to pursue a double major in Performance and Contemporary Writing and Production. "I hope this helps me perfect my craft for when the opportunity arrives to do bigger and better things in the music world," said Stewart.

The Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship is endowed by Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund. The scholarship was established at the recommendation of Berklee trustee Fran Bermanzohn, managing director and deputy general counsel of Goldman Sachs.

Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship

Jenny Dinh, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter and guitarist from Lake In The Hills, Illinois, will spend five weeks of her summer in Boston (July 7-August 10) studying at Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program through the Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship, awarded annually to a young Chicago area musician. She joins more than 1,000 teens from all over the world sharpening their skills in private lessons, ensembles, and concert performances. 

At 13, a Death Cab for Cutie song inspired Dinh to learn to play. "I looked down at my hands and thought, 'there are six strings on the guitar and I only have five fingers,' I had no idea what I was doing," she said. Dinh taught herself to play guitar and ukulele mainly through YouTube tutorials. Many gigs and songs later, Dinh was nominated for Best Folk/Acoustic and Best Female Vocal Artist - Hollywood Music In Media Awards 2012, and Best Singer/Songwriter and Best Folk/Acoustic Artist - All Indie Music Awards.

Dinh is excited to make the most of the opportunity to learn and connect with other musicians. "I hope to become a better artist all around, improving my writing and performing skills to grow and become the best artist I can be," she said.

Berklee Student Band Red Oblivion Perform at Lollapalooza

Red Oblivion—comprised of Berklee students and alumni—is a Boston-based rock band with backgrounds in a multitude of styles including classical, metal, world music, pop, and electronic. The group's evolving collaboration blends a traditional rock band lineup with the heaviness of amplified cello. Red Oblivion plays Lollapalooza on Sunday, August 5, at 12:00 p.m. on the BMI stage.

While Red Oblivion is a new band, the members have many years of performing experience between them. Cellist Eden Rayz, of Cleveland, Ohio, performed in the Cleveland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and, while attending Berklee on scholarship, recorded with Wycelf Jean. She has also been commissioned to compose for professional chamber ensembles. Guitarist Emma Torres is a native of Mexico City. At 16, Torres performed on the Vans Warped Tour Mexico with her band Samurai Jihad. Bassist Zach Adams, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was introduced to punk music by his grandmother, who made t-shirts for the Ramones. He fronted several bands around Vegas before coming to Berklee on scholarship. Drummer Carson Groenewold, raised in a log cabin in Silver Spring, Maryland, was classically trained but has branched out at Berklee to explore modern music and film scoring.

Red Oblivion has been in the studio recording with renowned producer Paul Kolderie (Portugal. The Man, Billy Bragg, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr., Hole). The tracks —to be released on download card at Lollapalooza —will appear on Dorm Sessions 8, upcoming from Berklee's student-run label Heavy Rotation Records. "Lollapalooza is obviously a huge opportunity for Red Oblivion," said Rayz. "Since Berklee gave us the chance to play the festival, we were inspired and pushed hard to materialize our vision as fully and quickly as possible, practicing upwards of 50 hours a week."

Students Intern at Kidzapalooza

Four Berklee students will also intern at Kidzapalooza, Lollapalooza's family-friendly fest within the fest offering a host of fun activities. The students, all music business/management majors, are again hosting a silent concert—a successful Kidzapalooza attraction they facilitated last year. For the silent concert, the students will be paired with kids on instruments including bass, guitar, keyboard, and electronic drums, which they will play while wearing headphones. The instruments are connected to a laptop with Pro Tools and outboard gear through which a student mixes and engineers the concert. The engineer then sends the performance out to mixer/amps for the players and audience to listen through headphones.