Berklee's Boston Campus Graduates First Group of Master's Students
The world just gained a new crop of jazz masters. Almost two dozen students recently earned their Master of Music degrees after spending a year immersed in Berklee’s contemporary performance (global jazz concentration) program.
Berklee honored this group—the Boston campus’ first cohort of graduate students to complete a master’s program—during a commencement ceremony, concert, and reception on July 1 at David Friend Recital Hall.
This marked the first cohort of students to graduate from one of the Boston campus’ two graduate programs; Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, recently graduated its fourth class of students from its four graduate programs.
“I’m more excited than I can express to welcome you to these commencement exercises for our very first graduating class of our master’s programs at Berklee in Boston,” said Camille Colatosti, dean of institutional assessment and graduate studies, noting that the class of 2016 comprises two post-graduate students and 21 master’s students from 16 countries.
“I say on behalf of all of us at Berklee, we cannot wait to see you enter the world,” said Berklee President Roger H. Brown. “We cannot wait to see you fulfill your destiny, both as musicians and human beings. You have helped us create this program, which I’m sure is going to have a long, productive life.”
On Virtuosity and Social Responsibility
Matt Marvuglio, dean of the Professional Performance Division, whom Colatosti referred to as the “brain and creative energy behind this program,” said he was impressed with the virtuosity exhibited in the students’ music. “What impressed me most was the attitudinal traits in your music. I listened to every performance and everyone had meaning to their music,” he told the students at the commencement ceremony. “I heard inspiration and I heard excitement, which to me are traits of virtuosity. I hope that you continue to cultivate this virtuosity.”
Danilo Pérez, artistic director for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) under which the graduate students study, thanked the college leadership for its vision in launching the program. “It takes a lot of courage to really create a platform for something creative like this to happen,” he said.
Pérez implored the graduates to continue to make the world a better place through music. “Your work hasn’t finished. It’s just started. Take this degree and make good use of it. Apply all these things you’ve learned to uncover, those musical miracles that wake people up. Remember always to strive to open up the ears and minds of people, and most importantly, open their hearts,” he said. “As Wayne Shorter told me, ‘Play and compose music the way you want the world to be like.’”
Not only was the graduating class empowered by the new levels of musicality it reached through the program, but also by the BGJI’s mantra of the social responsibility that comes with such talent.
Creativity, music, and the arts are “not only the icing on the cake in our lives,” Pérez noted. “They are essential ingredients in the fight against some of the most important issues in humanity. Let’s combat poverty with music. Let’s fight war with music. Let’s fight racism and illness with music.”