Berklee today is the official alumni publication of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a forum for contemporary music and musicians.
Issue link: http://berkleetoday.epubxp.com/i/180042
Victor Mendoza Ganavya Doraiswamy Brian Cole 24 Berklee today an introduction to things that would soon unfold in Valencia. Seven-time Latin Grammy winning producer, songwriter, and famenco guitarist Javier Limón of Huelva, Spain, was named as the institute's artistic director. Working with Larry Monroe and Berklee Professor Victor Mendoza, Limon brought noted Spanish famenco musicians and dancers to collaborate with students in Boston. Limón and Mendoza produced the studio CD Young Flamenco Project (engineered by MP&E Chair Rob Jaczko) featuring the Spanish guest artists and student musicians. Limón and company also presented several "Flamenco Soul" concerts in America and brought visiting artists to the Valencia campus. Cisneros and Mariá Iturriaga (a fellow Spaniard who joined the project in its early stages) began building a staff in Spain. Jorge Rostoll (now the director of operations) was the frst to occupy an offce at the new site. "Jorge was the frst person actually from Valencia to join the team," says Cisneros. "He oversaw the building of classrooms and the recording studios, and made sure Berklee got world-class facilities completed on time and within the budget." Iturriaga (now the associate dean for enrollment and career development) worked with Mark Campbell and Damien Bracken (of Berklee Boston's admissions and marketing staff) and Sophie Maricq (the assistant director of communications for global initiatives) to develop a communications strategy to draw students from around the world. "This was a key element," says Cisneros. "It was important to attract the right people to Berklee's frst master's degree programs." Meanwhile, Camille Colatosti, Berklee's dean of institutional assessment and graduate studies, worked with department chairs and deans in Boston to design the curriculum for the new campus. They determined that Valencia would offer master's degrees in four areas of study: contemporary studio performance (directed by Victor Mendoza), global entertainment and music business (directed by Allen Bargfrede), scoring for flm, television, and video games (currently directed by Lucio Godoy), music technology innovation (directed by Stephen Webber). The directors for the frst three areas of graduate study hired faculty members and pored through student applications. In the fall of 2012, after many auditions and interviews and much behind-the-scenes work, Valencia opened its doors to 74 graduate students. The music technology innovation majors just began their studies during the fall of 2013. Greg Fritze has started developing workshops and designing the curriculum for a symphonic band major. "Greg is a legend among the symphonic band musicians of Valencia," says Cisneros. "He helped us understand their musical traditions and how we could contribute." Valencia's frst educational offerings were two summer programs in 2011 focusing on songwriting and famenco studies. In January 2012, 26 undergraduate students from Boston became the frst group to go to Valencia for a semester abroad. Finally, in Spetember 2012, the frst graduate students arrived. "We moved very fast and encountered major challenges doing everything for the frst time here," says Cisneros. There were new facilities in a new country, new programs and a new team. Through extraordinary cooperation between the teams in Boston and Valencia, everything went according to plan and exceeded expectations. "This frst class was outstanding and the program is growing," Cisneros says. "It would not have been possible without the vision of Roger Brown. He knew that for Berklee to become truly global, we needed a presence in other countries instead of waiting for the world to come to us. He also wanted to create a laboratory for new musical ideas where new leaders of the global music industry could study. This vision inspired and energized all of us working on this project." "It Worked!" Following the frst graduation, administrators and faculty members involved in the program's liftoff quietly high-fved one another. Brian Cole, Berklee Valencia's academic dean, was philosophical. "It was a lightning-bolt moment for Valencia to award Berklee's frst master's degrees," Cole says. "Now that we've seen that both the students and the school achieved their objectives, we can fnally say, 'It worked!' You want to take a moment to refect on what the team here has accomplished, but we're already focusing on the new entering class." On June 1, 2012, after serving for seven years as the associate dean at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, Cole took his post at Berklee Valencia. He supervised graduate and undergraduate performance programs in classical, jazz, and Caribbean music, as well as orchestral and choral conducting. For the Valencia campus, the mission has been to design and teach educational programs that are distinct from those in Boston. Given that Valencia's primary focus is graduate studies, the curriculum differs in academic rigor, but Cole and company believed they had to dig deeper for even greater differentiation. "Berklee Boston is such a successful campus that the bar was set quite high for us here in Valencia," he says. "Students are coming here looking for something that will add another aspect to their artist portfolio." The architects of the graduate program designed it to be completed in a single, highly intense year rather than spreading it over the course of two years as other master's programs do. Valencia's charter class included many young professional musicians to whom the idea of investing a single year really appealed. "It's a lot harder for someone to take off two years from working," Cole explains. "As well, from a cost standpoint, they save one year's tuition." While the curriculum is focused, it allows students to explore different directions and gain professional experience. Many among the frst graduates completed an internship as part of their fnal project. Some graduates made time for professional work as well. "Some of our flm scoring majors also ft in professional projects while they were here," Cole says. "Maria Grigoryeva, a very talented Russian composer and violinist, worked steadily with musicians from her country. She worked on some of those projects with her teachers. Others—David Antolín Gil from Valencia and Jonas Bühler of Zurich—collaborated on the score for a professional flm project." The Valencia campus places an emphasis on preparing students to navigate an unpredictable music industry. "This industry evolves faster than any other—except technology," Cole says. "What's relevant now may need to be rethought in two years. I like to think that we're not just training people to be composers, performers, or technologists; we want them to have the ability to shape their own careers." Musicians without Borders The directors for each major not only hired top faculty members but also helped decide which students to admit to their programs. "I wanted to bring the right people here," says Victor Mendoza, the director for the contemporary studio performance major. "Some applicants just wanted to get a master's degree as the next step in their development, but we were looking for a little more. During the auditions, we tried to identify those we felt had an artistic statement to make. The kids we chose are unique. I listened to 1,332 tracks of applicants to fnd the 24 students we accepted." Mendoza had been a Berklee faculty member for decades before he signed on for a director role at the Valencia campus. In the spring of 2012, he arrived in Spain and started building his faculty team and auditioning students. There were many 12-hour days as he hunted for diverse talent around which to create an environment for blending multichromatic global styles. Mendoza listened to applicant recordings and conducted auditions. Those from far-off lands auditioned via Skype. The academic backgrounds of the applicants were quite varied, but deep musical talent was the deciding factor. "Ganavya Doraiswamy didn't have a traditional education," Mendoza says. "Her parents are Indian, but she grew up primarily in Miami and spent her middle-school years back in India where she got musical training from her grandmother." Doraiswamy has penned authoritative books on South Indian music, but she couldn't read music when she auditioned.