PODCAST: Inside Berklee – Neil Leonard

By 
Mike Keefe-Feldman
December 6, 2016
Neil Leonard, artistic director of the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute
Sound artist Neil Leonard, artistic director of the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute
Photo by Mark Poucher

As artistic director of the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute (BIAI), Neil Leonard, a professor in Berklee's Electronic Production and Design (EPD) Department, guides students in collaborating with artists working in every medium imaginable. A saxophonist and composer, Leonard—who is on the Fulbright Specialist roster and who is also a research affiliate at the M.I.T. program in Art, Culture, and Technology—recently completed a residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida. His work often focuses on sound, and has been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, the Venice Biennale, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, among others.

Leonard says that students accepted into the BIAI “get the opportunity to dream their dreams” while working with artists who have decades of experience. Together, they plan out installations that meet practical gallery guidelines while maintaining students' artistic vision.

In this edition of Inside Berklee, Leonard talks about upcoming interdisciplinary projects involving sound, dance, and interactive lighting (see related events below) that his students are undertaking with students and others at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Emerson College, and esteemed artists such as composer Amnon Wolman and lighting artist John Powell. Leonard also discusses his own work and longtime collaboration with his partner, fellow interdisciplinary artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons.