Women Who Rock Around the World

Berklee musicians joined with ICOM students at the closing of the Classic Rock Showcase in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Nilesh Thomas

Berklee’s Assistant Director Educational Operations Sam Skau led a team to the 2013 Cape Town International Jazz Festival for clinics, concerts, and applicant auditions and interviews. Left to right: Sam Skau; Paul Mashatile, minister of arts and culture of the Republic of South Africa; Rick Peckham, Berklee’s assistant chair of guitar; Michael Borgida, marketing manager off campus projects; and Andrea Pejrolo, assistant chair of contemporary writing and production.
Rashid Lombard

Wambura Mitaru (center) performs at the 2013 Close Encounters in Helsinki, Finland.
Hanna Lagom

Ronan Guilfoyle (right), artistic director for Newpark Music Centre (a BIN partner) interviews Larry Monroe about the history of contemporary music education during the 2013 12-Points Festival.
Laura Guilfoyle

By Jason Camelio, director of international programs and Amanda Gouldthorpe, assistant director of international programs


We cannot celebrate them enough. There are so many stellar female musicians in the Berklee community—and they rock! This past spring, we showcased some of these student talents in far-flung places such as Helsinki, Finland, Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Special thanks go to our Berklee International Network (BIN) partners at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki as well as Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the International College of Music (ICOM) in Malaysia.

Berklee’s assistant director of international programs, Amanda Gouldthorpe, traveled across the Russian-Finnish border by train with Wambura Mitaru (one of Berklee’s Africa Scholars from Kenya) and her group Synergy. After their first flight out of Boston was canceled because of the blizzard, they found that they had merely traded snowscapes in Boston for those in Helsinki and St. Petersburg. They were relieved to finally arrive in Europe where Wambura’s group was featured at the Close Encounters festival. This event is designed to bring international students together to share their music and create new material together.

In a similar venture, drummer Elena Bonomo from New York and guitarist Annie Grunwald ’13 from Connecticut were invited to participate in the ICOM Classic Rock Showcase at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in Malaysia. They joined a cast of talented young ICOM students who were featured in the Women in Rock portion of the show.

After the performance, Grunwald reflected on the opportunity ICOM and Berklee had given her to make the trip and perform with their peers. “Never in my life have I met harder-working musicians!” Grunwald says. “They had intensive rehearsals—often running from early morning until midnight. They kept working until the music was right. It pushed me beyond what I knew I was capable of.”

As well, bassist Esther Rojas will lead a student group in two weeks of performances in June in Medellín and Pereira, Colombia, with sponsorship by Colombo Americano. Similarly, saxophonist Erena Terakubo will travel to France in October with a quintet. They will play at the 2013 Nancy Jazz Pulsations, with sponsorship from BIN partner Music Academy International.

We plan to continue showcasing Berklee’s fine women musicians around the world. Rock on, ladies!