BerkleeNYC Launches Community Fund

By 
Margot Edwards
May 7, 2019
Renaissance Youth Center recording session at BerkleeNYC
Renaissance Youth Center recording session at BerkleeNYC
Boys and Girls Harbor of Harlem recording session at BerkleeNYC
Boys and Girls Harbor of Harlem recording session at BerkleeNYC
Berklee Indian Ensemble recording session at BerkleeNYC
Image by Ryan Nava
Image by Ryan Nava
Image by Ryan Nava
Image by Ryan Nava
Image by Ryan Nava

BerkleeNYC, the college's new center at New York City's iconic Power Station (formerly Avatar Studios), has launched a community fund to raise money for educational programming, scholarships for K12 students in need, community outreach, and partnerships. 

The BerkleeNYC Community Fund creates opportunities to nurture some of New York’s most deserving young musicians, creators, and performing artists. Working with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), the New York City Department of Education, and neighborhood after-school programs, BerkleeNYC will use the fund to immerse students in world-class experiential learning opportunities using the latest technologies, including recording sessions with cinematic 360-degree virtual reality (VR) audio and video capture.

This effort is already underway: The BerkleeNYC team has produced several 360-degree capture videos at the studio with students, including the popular Berklee Indian Ensemble and Boys and Girls Harbor of Harlem, as well as professional artists such as Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider. The videos showcase the unique design of the studio and break ground in the creation of 360-degree music content. The latest BerkleeNYC 360-degree video is a collaboration with the Bronx-based Renaissance Youth Center's Music with a Message Band.

Watch a 360-degree video of the Renaissance Youth Center's Music with a Message Band, recorded at Power Station at BerkleeNYC:  

“At Power Station at BerkleeNYC, we are creating unique and powerful opportunities for inspired young performers to help them fully realize their creative and career potential,” said Stephen Webber, executive director of BerkleeNYC. “Together with our partners, we’re seeking to make a significant impact on the lives of students and musical artists, and our shared musical culture.”

Since acquiring the building in late 2017 and establishing BerkleeNYC, Berklee has presented a variety of forward-thinking educational programs on topics including audio and video production, songwriting, music synchronization, method acting for musicians, musical direction, music business law, and creating band agreements. Upcoming programs include Crowdfunding for Musicians: Secrets to Building Your Online Audience, presented by indie nerd-folk comedy duo The Doubleclicks on May 14, and a daylong training session for New York public school teachers focusing on music production, hosted with Berklee City Music, on May 17.


Power Station at BerkleeNYC is currently undergoing a $15 million renovation. Refurbishments and additions will include a video control room, high-definition cinematic video capability and film stage quality lighting, 360-degree VR capability, and ensemble rehearsal classrooms, along with enhanced facilities and infrastructure. BerkleeNYC plans to reopen permanently in the fall of 2020 as a state-of-the-art recording facility and a hub of education and creativity.  

During the renovations to the iconic studio, BerkleeNYC has relocated its operations to the Safehouse, a Clinton Housing Development Company (CHDC) facility at 500 West 52nd Street, New York. In its new, temporary location, BerkleeNYC continues to be neighbors with several community-based organizations including the 52nd Street Project, Arts New York, INTAR Theatre, and MCC Theater, facilitating collaborations and partnerships benefiting local youth in Hell’s Kitchen and beyond.  

Power Station at BerkleeNYC has hosted more than 600 recording sessions in the past year, from solo artists and small groups to large Broadway cast albums; film and TV soundtracks including Fosse/Verdon, Mary Poppins Returns, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselCrazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Ocean’s 8; and recording sessions for artists including DJ Khaled, Diana Krall B.M. ‘83, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Mick Jagger, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Wynton Marsalis, Janelle Monáe, Paul Simon ‘86H, Esperanza Spalding B.M. ‘05 ‘18H, and Steven Tyler ‘03H of Aerosmith.

Educational programs at BerkleeNYC present a variety of inspiring and informative sessions for everyone from students to working professionals across the spectrum of art, creativity, and expression. With the support of New York’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and the vision of Berklee Trustee Pete Muller, Berklee is dedicated to preserving and building on the legacy of the Power Station by reinvigorating the studios and transforming them into the world’s premier destination for large-format recording and forward-thinking arts education programs. BerkleeNYC will also launch an artist development grant program and host free and tuition-based educational programs, performances, and resources for New York area musicians.