Musicians as Connectors
Making The Educational Connection
Much of the success of Berklee’s endeavors abroad can be measured by the response of young musicians to the clinics and master classes presented by our faculty members at our partner institutions and On the Road programs. During these brief interactions, students can unlock musical doors, ignite inspiration, and forge lifelong bonds.
From that moment, the path forward becomes clearer. They understand and appreciate the challenges that lie ahead. They find a refreshed connection to other musicians in their local communities and engage a broader network of music education and opportunity. A fine example of this interaction is the program Berklee conducts in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest.
Berklee in Puerto Rico 2010
This past June marked the 20th anniversary of the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest. For 16 of those years, Berklee has provided the educational component that accompanies the rich and energetic atmosphere at festival time in San Juan. Historically, the program has connected exceptional young talent to the college, including drummer Ruben J. Amador ’01, guitarist Roy Guzmán ’10, saxophonist Miguel Zénon ’98, and many more. All these artists and educators have forged ahead in their own right and continue to share their knowledge and experience.
This year, Berklee opened its program to all young students from Puerto Rico and beyond who sought to participate in the weeklong program on instrumental technique, harmony, ear training, improvisation, arranging, and ensemble performance. A new online application brought us an unprecedented number of interested candidates who range in age from 12 to 34 and include candidates from outside Puerto Rico, with some traveling from as far as Colorado. As in previous years, a few of the student groups were featured on the stage at the festival on the event’s final day. The audience response was overwhelming; the Salsa Ensemble led by Associate Professor of Percussion Eguie Castrillo and the jazz orchestra directed by Professor of Jazz Composition Bob Pilkington received standing ovations.
Significant dedication from supporters makes a unique program like Berklee in Puerto Rico possible. It is important to express our gratitude to this year’s sponsors: Banco Popular, GrupoTriple-S, and Méndez & Company. Special thanks go to our hosts, the Escuela de Bellas Artes Carolina, and the organization’s technical adviser, Hiram Morales.
We rely on our alumni for their expertise in our educational collaborations and would like to thank alumni Joey Sala, Melanie Sala, and Jose Andres Sala and their team for their help with this year’s program. As well, thanks go to Ruben J. Amador, the director of Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe, for awarding three of this year’s students with a tuition-free semester at the contemporary music institute. Additionally, we would like to thank Berkleemusic.com (the college’s online extension school) for awarding five free online courses.
Summit in Quito, Ecuador
The Instituto de Música Contemporánea (IMC), Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in Cumbaya, Ecuador, hosted the recent biennial Berklee International Network Summit. Esteban Molina ’92, IMC’s director, and Greg Badolato, Berklee’s assistant vice president for international programs, were the masters of ceremonies at the summit. Representatives from 15 institutions from 14 countries gathered in Quito for three days of focused discussion on developments in contemporary music education, trends in the music industry, and strategies for building a stronger network for musicians around the world who seek educational opportunities.
Berklee’s program in Puerto Rico and our summit with international network partners highlight the commitment to our educational mission. Whether we work with passionate young musicians or seasoned professionals and educators, the college and its extended family value the connections made through the music-education experience.