Berklee Global Jazz Institute Graduates to Attend Thelonious Monk Institute
Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) graduates Anthony Fung, a drummer from Richmond Hill, Ontario, and Simon Moullier, a vibraphonist from Nantes, France, have been accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA in Los Angeles, an intensive two-year program that accepts only one ensemble of musicians for each class. They begin studying with other members of the Monk Institute’s class of 2018 on September 22.
Fung and Moullier were selected through a rigorous application process culminating in an audition judged by jazz luminaries Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Burrell, James Newton, and Herb Alpert. Monk Institute students receive full scholarships and stipends for living expenses. They will have the opportunity to study individually and with small groups, receive personal mentoring and ensemble coaching, and attend lectures on the jazz tradition. They will also be encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through compositions and performances.
The BGJI provides a comprehensive contemporary music setting where students are given opportunities to explore their creativity to the highest-level possible, advance the power of music as a tool for the betterment of society, and connect musical creative thinking with the natural environment.
“Our students have been given great musical talent,” said Marco Pignataro, BGJI managing director. “We teach them that as artists they are responsible to impact their communities in positive ways.”
Fung began playing the drums at 10. At the urging of his friend and mentor, Berklee alumnus Joe Manzoli, Fung joined Humber, a community music school in his hometown. He was later accepted into the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, where he was the only Canadian. Fung toured along the West Coast and performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the group. In 2010, Fung attended Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he studied with Grammy Award-winner Terri Lyne Carrington. That’s when he knew Berklee was where he wanted to be.
Fung was one of the youngest students to be accepted into the Berklee Global Jazz Institute’s master’s degree program under the artistic leadership of Danilo Pérez. “Danilo and Marco have been like fathers to me,” Anthony acknowledges. He has traveled extensively with the BGJI, and the experience had a profound impact on him. Visiting places like Gabon, Africa, Fung realized that “music is a very powerful, therapeutic element, a tool that can be used for social change, for giving back.” Fung also traveled to Panama by himself to work at the Danilo Pérez Foundation teaching children.
After receiving his Master of Music in contemporary performance (global jazz concentration) from Berklee in May, Fung is following his dream of pursuing a second master’s degree at the Monk Institute. He looks forward to the opportunity to be in the presence of his idols, Herbie Hancock, and particularly, Wayne Shorter.
Moullier’s parents were his first mentors. “My mother always loved music and thought it was a great way to find happiness,” he recalls. At 6, he began studying drums at the Conservatory of Nantes, France, with Hedy Rejika and Sean-Marie Bellec. During his time at the conservatory, Moullier attended Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he discovered the vibraphone. The vibraphone became his instrument and his voice. Moullier received a scholarship to study at Berklee, where he was accepted into the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
Moullier credits Perez for teaching him to use his music for greater purposes. “I’d love to be remembered as a humanitarian, not just a good musician,” said Moullier. “We’ve had some pretty incredible experiences through the (BGJI) program.”
At the BGJI, Moullier studied with legendary artists including Pérez, John Patitucci, and Terri Lyne Carrington. He also counts Hal Crook and Darren Barrett among his greatest influences. Moullier, who majored in performance, graduated from Berklee in May 2016. He will graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute in 2018 with a master’s degree in performance.