A landmark public-private-nonprofit partnership bringing together Berklee, the City of New York, and musician/investor Pete Muller has been formed to revitalize the historic studio on West 53rd Street most recently known as Avatar Studios. The facility will be renamed Power Station at BerkleeNYC in a nod to the studio founded by Tony Bongiovi in 1977 as the Power Station, and to the building’s original use to supply power to midtown Manhattan residents.
The recording studios—where artists like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Madonna, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Bob Dylan, the cast of Hamilton, and many others recorded iconic albums—will be transformed into a state-of-the-art recording and video production facility for the city’s music, theater, television, and film industries.
In addition to the studio renovation, the building’s lower level will be converted into a flexible-use practice/performance venue, including an affordable rehearsal space featuring a professional-size stage and state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and projection technology. It will also include a video control room to capture and post-produce video from all over the building, and a virtual reality/augmented reality studio.
Overseeing the project is Stephen Webber, executive director of BerkleeNYC and dean of strategic Initiatives for Berklee. The daily operations of the space will be taken on by Ian Kagey, who joins Power Station at BerkleeNYC as its director of operations.
Also closely involved in the project is Roy Hendrickson, a longtime member of the Power Station/Avatar family, and one of the most in-demand recording engineer/mixers in New York City, who brings invaluable knowledge and experience to the project.
Berklee and its partners are dedicated to preserving and building on the incredible legacy of the studios, by reinvigorating and transforming them into the world’s premier large-format recording destination.
Watch the Harbor Elite Ensemble, a Berklee City Music partner, perform "A Night in Tunisia" at Power Station at BerkleeNYC: