Taylor and Kurzweil Keynote BTOT Conference

By
Elisabeth Nicula
February 6, 2009
Ray Kurzweil sees technological innovation as a fundamental part of being human. He predicts technological advancements, which he says are accelerating at a non-linear rate, with uncanny skill.
Kurzweil believes that environmental damage will eventually be outpaced by the development of clean energy and other technologies. He "looks at the worldwide human condition... and remains an unbelievable optimist," says Music Synthesis chair Kurt Biederwolf.
A preeminent jazz educator, Billy Taylor developed course materials used early on at Berklee.
As the house pianist at Birdland, Taylor performed with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker.
Taylor champions women in jazz. Percussion professor Terri Lyne Carrington, whom he mentored, and current student Katie Thiroux, bass, round out his BTOT trio.
Lauren Fuller, a student in the City Music Upper School program, gets Taylor's feedback from the front row during the master class.
Taylor is so impressed by Berklee student Abraham Olivo's performance that he hires Olivo on the spot to perform and teach at his New York-based outreach program, Jazzmobile.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell

The annual Berklee Teachers on Teaching conference last month focused on innovation and education of the whole person, and two keynote speakers set the tone.

Futurist, inventor, and author Ray Kurzweil encouraged the faculty to help students encounter life's big questions. Pianist Billy Taylor, one of the forefathers of jazz scholarship, provided an invaluable educational perspective. Though he has retired from active touring and recording he played with a trio during the conference. He also gave a master class for Berklee City Music students. 

Check the photographs to learn more.