Berklee Percussion Festival
June 16–20, 2014
What's the program like?
Whether you play drum set, steelpan, marimba, or vibraphone, you’ll take your percussion to a new plane with this program. The festival will hook you up with new methods and techniques for rhythm, improvisation, percussion craft, effects, sound, and performance skills.
The Berklee Percussion Festival also emphasizes practical playing experience through a variety of performance activities, in-class performances, ensembles (bands), and master classes if you're interested in percussion and performing in a variety of musical styles.
You can opt to study the following styles: jazz drum set, rock drum set, fusion drum set, funk drum set, marimba, vibraphone, total percussion, West African percussion, steelpan, Afro-Cuban drum set, Brazilian, or hand percussion.
If you are also interested in enrolling at Berklee full time, there are several benefits to attending the Percussion Festival:
- Find out what it takes to succeed in music and at Berklee;
- Study with Berklee faculty;
- Learn about admission, audition, and scholarship requirements;
- Get a head start on your full-time studies; and
- Get to know Boston, New England's hub of culture and academia.
Who are the instructors?
All classes and ensembles will be taught by members of Berklee's internationally renowned percussion faculty, as well as by visiting artists.
Past guest artists have included Will Calhoun, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Trichy Sankaran, Steve Smith, Dafnis Prieto, Pete Locket, Francisco Mela, and Pedro Martinez.
- Sergio Bellotti
- Eguie Castrillo
- Ernesto Diaz
- Larry Finn
- Richard Flanagan
- Ricardo Monzon
- Kim Plainfield
- Ron Reid
- Mike Ringquist
- Ed Saindon
- Jackie Santos
- Joe Galeota
- Skip Hadden
- Robert Kaufman
- Bertram Lehmann
- Dave Samuels
- Casey Scheuerell
- Tony "Thunder" Smith
- Bob Tamagni
- Dave Weigert
- Steve Wilkes
- Nancy Zeltsman
Yoron Israel’s varied credentials and illustrious career includes five recordings as a leader and hundreds of recordings as an accompanist. His recordings as a solo artist include the newly released Visions – The Music of Stevie Wonder, which is among Jazz Week’s top 100 recordings of 2012. Previous releases on his label Ronja Music are A Gift for You and Basic Traneing. The latter reached number three on the National Jazz Charts in 2004. When not leading his own ensembles (Organic, Connection, and High Standards), Yoron performs regularly with bassist Avery Sharpe and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard as well as with numerous leading Boston-based artists such as Laszlo Gardony, Gabrielle Goodman, and the Makanda Project.
Dave Samuels has established himself as the top mallet player of his generation. He is recognized for his fresh sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Samuels has demonstrated his versatility and gained world wide recognition by performing and recording with a broad scope of artists ranging from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley, and Pat Metheny to Yellowjackets, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, the Fantasy Band, and Spyro Gyra.
For more than a decade, Samuels has been performing and recording with his group the Caribbean Jazz Project, whose most recent album, Afro Bop Alliance, received a Grammy nomination and a Latin Grammy award. Its recording, The Gathering, won the Grammy in 2003 for Best Latin Jazz Album. Samuels is also a member of Double Image, a vibe-marimba duo consisting of Dave Samuels and David Friedman, who have performed for 30 years. Samuels’ longtime association with Spyro Gyra lasted from 1977 to 1994 and includes 20 recordings. During that time, the Grammy-nominated group was named No. 1 Contemporary Jazz Artist and Contemporary Jazz Group of the 1980s by Billboard magazine.
What's the schedule?
The festival begins Monday, June 16, with registration and auditions in the morning, master classes and faculty concerts throughout the day, and a special evening faculty concert. Tuesday through Thursday will feature the following:
- Two hours of class on your principal instrument
- A one-hour styles class on instruments related to your principal instrument (including a rhythm section in each class)
- Nightly jam sessions and repertoire classes in all styles
- Student concerts
Other highlights include rhythm classes on drum set through the 1960s and since the 1960s, a steelpan concert, a hip-hop ensemble workshop, an Afro-Cuban music clinic, a concert percussion clinic, faculty concerts, and visiting artist clinics and performances. There will be ongoing percussion industry exhibits each day where you can see the latest instruments, equipment, and educational materials.
The final day of the festival will include student concerts, a faculty clinic performance, closing ceremony, a featured R&B clinic performance and the Faculty Blowout Concert. Family and friends are welcome to attend the last day's activities by requesting free tickets from the Percussion Department.
Do I need to bring an instrument?
All percussion instruments will be available for class use, but you may bring your own if you wish. Do not bring drum sets, though you may want to bring a cymbal bag, including a hi-hat clutch. There will be 18 drum sets available for practice from 10:00 a.m. to midnight each day as well as a limited amount of percussion instruments. All percussion instruments are provided by Alternate Mode, Drum Workshop, Evans, Gretsch, Grover Pro Percussion, JAG Drums, Kaman (Toca), Latin Percussion Music Group, Ludwig/Musser, Mapex, Marimba One, Mike Balter, Paiste, Pearl Corporation, Premier, Regal Tip, Remo, Sabian, Shure, Sonor, Taos Drums, Vic Firth, Yamaha, Zildjian, and Vater Inc.
Where will I eat and sleep?
Applicants will be sent information and an application for residence hall housing once accepted to the program. Most program participants elect to stay in the Berklee residence halls; however, space is limited. To optimize your chances for on-campus housing, you must return the housing application immediately upon receiving it.
To be eligible to live in the residence hall, you must be 15 years of age by the start of the program. If you apply to the program after mid-May, please call the Housing Office at 617 747-2292 to find out if residence hall space is still available.