Berklee College of Music Investing in Young Irish Musicians

by Nick Balkin

Berklee College of Music is investing in Ireland to bring young talent across the Atlantic to its Boston campus. Ireland, though rich in musical heritage, is underrepresented at Berklee, a multicultural melting pot that includes students from over 70 countries. The college's means of investment is two-fold: First is Berklee in Dublin, April 13-17, a series of improvisation workshops that allow students to study with Berklee's world renowned faculty. Second, April 18-19, is a visit by admissions reps and professors to audition and interview students for scholarships for summer and full-time study at Berklee in Boston.

Berklee in Dublin workshops will take place at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), 163-167 Rathmines Road. The auditions will be held at Newpark Music Centre, Berklee's International Network partner in Dublin, at Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co.

Berklee will hold a free, public improvisation symposium, Wednesday, April 15, at 19:00. On Friday, April 17, at a special closing event, the college will award scholarships to its Five-Week Summer Performance Program in Boston, as well as three online courses from, the college's online school. Both events will be held at DIT.

Though many Irish musicians are fluid improvisers, Berklee intends to help them build on what they know, teaching the theory, skills, and stylistic considerations needed to master the art of spontaneous composition. The workshop will be offered to all musicians, from classical and Irish traditional, to pop, rock, and jazz. Students will work with world renowned faculty members, including: Greg Badolato, assistant vice president for international programs and program director for Berklee in Dublin; Michael Farquharson, professor of contemporary writing and production; Matt Glaser, chair of strings; Jim Kelly, professor of guitar; and John McGann, associate professor of strings.

Every student applying to Berklee is required to audition and interview live at the Boston campus or at sites all over North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. The goal is to identify students who are the best fit for Berklee. These are applicants who demonstrate strong musical aptitude, are innovators and risk-takers. They are driven by their passion for music and take a disciplined and focused approach to the development of their craft. All students who audition and interview for Berklee are also considered for scholarships.

Berklee had strong ties to Ireland prior to organizing the workshops. Bill Whelan, Grammy-winning composer of Riverdance, was named to Berklee's board of trustees in 2007. Over the last two years, he brought Riverdance musicians to Boston for a master class, and has actively explored ways to introduce young Irish musicians to the college. U2's groundbreaking guitarist The Edge was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree at Berklee's 2007 commencement. Newpark Music Centre, in Dublin, has been member of the Berklee International Network for many years.

Berklee College of Music, for over 60 years, has evolved constantly to support its belief that the best way to prepare students for a career in music is through a contemporary music education. The college was the first in the U.S. to teach jazz, the popular music of the time. It incorporated rock n' roll in the 1960s, created the world's first degree programs in film scoring, music synthesis, and songwriting, and, in recent years, added Latin, hip-hop, electronica, and video game music to its curriculum. In 2005, music business/management became the most populated of its 12 majors. With a diverse and entrepreneurial student body representing over 70 countries, a music industry "who's who" of alumni, and a commitment to adapt to meet the demands of an ever changing industry, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today and tomorrow.

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