Berklee Launches New Program in Santo Domingo

Berklee in Santo Domingo is the result of a partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, AES Dominicana Foundation, and Itabo.

November 15, 2022

Berklee College of Music, the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, AES Dominicana Foundation, and Itabo have announced the launch of Berklee in Santo Domingo. The program will be held January 9–14, 2023, at the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo. Applications are being accepted now through December 9, 2022.

"We are enormously grateful for this partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, AES Dominicana Foundation, and Itabo that provides access, opportunity, and resources to talented students," said Berklee President Erica Muhl. "This collaboration supports our mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while preparing these gifted young artists for impactful careers. I look forward to seeing the program grow, and to building upon and strengthening our alliance in the coming years."

Berklee on the Road (BOR) is part of the institution's global strategy to make music education and the Berklee approach to teaching accessible and affordable. In addition to the Dominican Republic, BOR programs will be held in Perugia, Italy; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and other locations around the world. During the BOR programs, participants will be offered the opportunity to take a live audition and interview to be considered for admission to Berklee. Candidates who audition and interview during the program will also be considered for merit-based scholarships to Berklee's undergraduate and summer programs.

“Our organization believes that inter-institutional alliances are fundamental to the cultural development of our country. I appreciate the technical teams of Berklee and the ministry for the great work they have done to be able to offer the Berklee program at our National Conservatory," said Milagros Germán, minister of culture, Dominican Republic. "This agreement allows us to give the opportunity for academic training to our young people with the promise of music, and with this we take accurate steps towards the democratization of culture. Let's keep working like this."

Berklee in Santo Domingo will include six days of intensive study from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with lectures and classes encompassing theory, ear training, improvisation, ensemble performance, and instrumental instruction. A series of master classes from Berklee faculty and special guest artists in composition, arranging, and songwriting will be conducted as part of the weeklong workshop, along with ensembles and nightly jam sessions. A final showcase concert by students will be presented on the last day to mark the end of the program.

“Music is the energy that sustains the souls of the world. On behalf of the whole AES Dominicana team, Itabo, and my own, it’s very gratifying to see how we positively influence the Dominican culture by contributing [to] the musical formation of so many talented young people,” said Edwin De los Santos, CEO, AES Dominicana Foundation. “We invite young artists to participate in Berklee in Santo Domingo, a program that will impact the lives of over 160 youths and the acceleration of the orange culture in the Dominican Republic.” Orange culture, also called the orange economy, refers to the Dominican industry of talent, creativity, and culture.

Berklee in Santo Domingo is open only to residents of the island who are at least 15 years of age by the start of the program, and who have been playing an instrument or singing for a minimum of six months. The candidates who are accepted into the program will attend at no cost. This year, candidates attending Berklee in Santo Domingo will also be competing for one Michel Camilo Scholarship (a full-tuition award for Berklee's undergraduate program) as well as five AES Dominicana Foundation awards to attend Berklee's Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive program.

“I am excited and looking forward to the fourth round of my Michel Camilo Scholarship auditions to be held in the Dominican Republic,” said Michel Camilo, a Grammy-winning jazz pianist/composer and Berklee honorary doctorate recipient. “Time flies when you are having fun, and it is so amazing that it has been more than 12 years since we started the program. I am so proud to have seen three generations of promising young musicians come to broaden their skills and strive at Berklee, and look forward to many more. This program has given them hope by making their dreams come true and fine-tuning their individual artistry in order to be able to achieve a successful musical career.”

Applications for Berklee in Santo Domingo must be submitted, together with supporting materials demonstrating musical experience and talents, via the online form by December 9. Accepted musicians will be announced on December 14.

About Michel Camilo 

Music and education have always been at the heart of Michel Camilo’s life. A native of the Dominican Republic, Camilo is an internationally acclaimed Grammy-winning jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, lecturer, and visiting professor. He composed his first song at the age of 5, and studied for 13 years at the National Conservatory. He became the youngest member of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic at 16.

In 1979, Camilo moved to New York to study at Mannes College and the Juilliard School. He broke onto the international stage in 1983 when Tito Puente's pianist was unable to make a concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and Camilo was asked to substitute. Over time, he has performed with dozens of jazz luminaries all over the world, as well as toured with his own trio, as a solo pianist, as a guest artist with Symphony Orchestras, and in duo collaborations with flamenco guitarist Tomatito. He has released 25 albums and holds honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Universidad Pedro Henriquez Ureña, and UTESA University.

About AES Dominicana Foundation

AES Dominicana Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works for the protection of the Earth and the well-being of its inhabitants. Since 2015, AES has supported more than 40 outstanding young musicians from the National Conservatory of Music, providing them scholarships to Berklee summer programs.

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