Faculty Fellowships Awarded

Margot Edwards
May 14, 2009
Richard Boulanger
Ruth Mendelson
Kevin Bleau
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Berklee College of Music's Office of Faculty Development has awarded 2009 Faculty Fellowships to Richard Boulanger, Ruth Mendelson, David Zoffer, and Kevin Bleau. For the past five years, the Berklee Faculty Fellowship fund has awarded $5,000 each to professors engaged in creative endeavors that nurture their academic and artistic careers, and enhance Berklee's participation in the worlds of education and the music industry.

This year's projects include composition, recording, performance, and sound design using the latest in wireless performance control technologies and portable music computers. The fellowships—decided by a review board composed of three members with no formal affiliations to Berklee—are awarded based on the quality of the proposal and the scope of the project. Within a year, the recipients will present their completed projects to the Berklee community. 

About the 2009 Berklee Faculty Fellowship recipients:

Richard Boulanger, professor of music synthesis

Programming, Designing, and Composing 21st Century Chamber Music for Virtuoso Violin and Cello Players Using the McMillen K-Bow and the Mathews RadioBaton

Boulanger, a resident of Dighton, Massachusetts, will compose, design, and perform several new works showcasing the newest "transparent" wireless performance/control technologies—the K-Bow and the RadioBaton. These technologies will be integrated with Csound5—the world's most powerful virtual software synthesizer from MIT. Working closely with developers of unique wireless controllers, and collaborating with Berklee's music synthesis and performance faculty, this project will result in several compositions that will premiere at universities and festivals in Europe and the United States, including Berklee. Boulanger is a Fulbright scholar who has performed with La Jolla Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Opera Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Ruth Mendelson, professor of film scoring

Jai's Great Adventure: The Water Tree Way

For this project, Mendelson, a resident of Lincoln, Massachusetts, will compose, record, and produce the first four chapters of an original manuscript: Jai's Great Adventure: The Water Tree Way. The final production will weave spoken word—the voice of famed primatologist, ethnologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall—and original music performed by world-renowned musicians. The story is intended to help seriously ill children and their families cope with the pain and stress often experienced during difficult periods of the child's illness. Mendelson, who has been the composer, producer, arranger, and music director for several TV and film productions, is the founder of Eagle Vision Initiatives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community via the arts.

David Zoffer, assistant professor of contemporary writing and production

The Muse Receptor: Contemporary Live Electric/Electronic Pop Performance Practice

This project will demonstrate the use of new technology that can bring studio-quality sounds to live performances using a small amount of amplification. Zoffer, a Brookline, Massachusetts resident, will utilize the incredibly powerful Muse Receptor portable music computer and its Native Instruments Komplete 5 Software Suite in both studio and live settings. The result will be a solution to address electric/electronic music live performance challenges that stem from low budgets, rising travel costs, and shorter setup time in performance venues. Zoffer is the continuing education jazz department chair at New England Conservatory. His group the Dave Zoffer Differential recently released a new CD. 


Kevin Bleau, assistant professor of contemporary writing and production

If You Want My Body: A Musical

The fellowship will provide an opportunity for Bleau, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, to complete the book, lyrics, and music for his work If You Want My BodyA Musical, which tells the story of Mildred, a rich but overweight lawyer who yearns for her first relationship. Annelies, a slim dancer, is about to be evicted from her studio. The women make a deal with witch Lorana to swap their brains into each other's bodies. Annelies's brain will lose 50 pounds from Mildred's body. Then Lorana will return the brains to the original bodies and Mildred will pay both women. The women question their philosophies on life as they "walk a mile in each other's bodies." Student singers, actors, and instrumentalists will share the stage with professionals—including a Yale University professor of voice and Berklee faculty and staff members—in the completed production.