Chicago Teen Awarded First Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship

Margot Edwards
July 28, 2011
Tinu Sonuga
Photo provided by the artist

Flutist Atinuke (Tinu) Sonuga, 17, of Chicago is spending five weeks of her summer in Boston, July 9–August 12, studying at Berklee College of Music's Five-Week Summer Performance Program on a scholarship. Sonuga, the first recipient of the Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship, joins more than 1,000 teens from all over the world to sharpen her skills in private lessons, ensembles, and concert performances of contemporary music styles. 

Sonuga, who is a senior at Lincoln Park High School, has studied at the People's Music School in Chicago for four years. A flutist for six years, she started playing in elementary school and continued with her high school band, performing classical, jazz, pop, and orchestral music. In addition to flute, she dabbled in alto saxophone and will begin studying cello in the fall. She has played at Chicago's House of Blues twice and also performed on the Chicago Symphony's stage with a city-wide youth orchestra.

Sonuga learned about Berklee through the People's Music School, where many of her friends play jazz. "I always wanted to play with them, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the music," she said. "I'm also planning to study music education, so being well rounded in different types of music will help me with being a teacher in the future." The People's Music School is a member of the Berklee City Music Network.

"She's never had an opportunity to do anything like this, so we're very excited," said Sonuga's mother Marie. "We wouldn't have been able to do this without the scholarship. She hasn't had access to things like private lessons until recently. This is another way for her to step up her game and be more competitive."

Lollapalooza celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a lineup that includes Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5, A Perfect Circle, Cee Lo Green, Damian "Jr. Gong," Marley & Nas, the Cars, Ween, and many more. Lollapalooza takes place August 5–7 at Grant Park in Chicago. 

Berklee alumna Julia Easterlin, a loop scientist and singer-songwriter, performs at Lollapalooza on Saturday, August 6, at noon. In addition to Easterlin's performance and the Berklee Lollapalooza Five-Week Scholarship, six Berklee students are interning at Kidzapalooza as part of a relationship developed with Lollapalooza by Jeff Dorenfeld, Berklee professor of music business/management and faculty advisor to student-run label Heavy Rotation Records (HRR).

More exciting news from this partnership will be announced on August 5.