Berklee and Electronic Arts Celebrate Annual EA Day

The second annual EA Berklee Day celebrated women in the screen scoring industry and presented the Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship to students Carol Gao and Rachel "Ray" McFarlane.

April 10, 2024

Berklee and Electronic Arts (EA) celebrated the second annual EA Berklee Day Charting Change at the college’s Boston campus with a day of activities, which included a panel of groundbreaking composers and musicians and the presentation of the Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship to students Carol Gao and Rachel "Ray" McFarlane.

As part of the EA Berklee Day celebrations, a panel of acclaimed composers including Stephanie Economou (Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök), Natalie Holt (Loki), Kathryn Bostic (Women of the Movement), Nainita Desai (The Deepest Breath), and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch (Living) shared their insights and expertise on working in the entertainment industry, concluding with a Q&A section with students. The panel was moderated by Steve Schnur, worldwide executive and president at EA Music, and introduced by Sean McMahon, chair of the college’s Screen Scoring Department. At the panel’s conclusion, all composers offered advice to students. Bostic spoke to the importance of authenticity as an artist, saying, “Your voice is always changing—the constant is you.” 

In February 2023, the Screen Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music and EA Music announced their partnership, which will enable greater equity in the entertainment industry and world of screen scoring. Each semester, the Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarship will offer one qualified woman or non-cisgender composer studying in the Screen Scoring Department the chance to not only receive a financial scholarship but to be mentored by an industry-leading team and learn how they compose, orchestrate, and arrange an original score for an EA video game title.

“This year’s EA Berklee Day celebrated the next generation of great composers with the current generation of great composers,” said Schnur. “Together we’ve made an unprecedented commitment to the future of music composition, and to the women who will create.”

Ahead of the panel, the Electronic Arts/Berklee Charting Change Scholarships were awarded to Carol Gao, the fall semester recipient, and Rachel "Ray" McFarlane, the spring semester recipient. In a special virtual appearance, Pinar Toprak BM ’00 (Captain Marvel, Fortnite, NFL Thursday Night Football) presented McFarlane’s scholarship. Both students received $15,000 and professional mentorship opportunities with a team of world-class video game composers at EA after they graduate.

Gao, a native of Toronto, Canada, is double majoring in game and interactive media scoring and electronic production and design at Berklee. She is a pianist and member of the leadership board of Berklee's Video Game Music Club. After graduation, she will move to Los Angeles for an internship with Sparks and Shadows Inc. While in LA, she hopes to build her career as a media composer and secure an in-house position at a game company or production house, in addition to freelance work. Gao’s other passions include session playing and teaching piano, composition, and music theory.

McFarlane, also a native of Canada, is double majoring in game and interactive media scoring and film scoring at Berklee. She is currently a member of the Composer Diversity Collective and intern at Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. She currently works with Orchestral Tools, EastWest Sounds, and Spitfire Audio as a social media influencer to promote positive inclusion within the video game scoring community. After graduation, McFarlane hopes to continue elevating her skills by attending a master’s program at either the University of Southern California or New York University.

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