Berklee today

OCT 2015

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:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 44

18 Berklee today On the Podium at Abbey Road A weeklong trip to London to record music at Abbey Road Studios and meet with key fgures in the London flm in- dustry was a pivotal experience that 33 master's degree candidates from the Valencia campus will never forget. Lucio Godoy, Berklee Valencia's program director for flm, televi- sion, and video games, brought the students and a handful of faculty members into the spacious environs of Abbey Road's Studio One to work with a 51-piece orchestra composed of top-notch London freelance players. For the capstone project in their program, each composer/conductor had 18 min- utes to capture the best rendition of the two- to four-minute cue they had written. It was a chance to work in the facil- ity where legendary composers have recorded hundreds of scores including those for such blockbuster franchises as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and many more. "These students are getting a chance to work under the best possible conditions in this studio with these musicians," said Vanessa Garde, an assistant professor at Valencia. Along with fellow assistant professor Alfons Conde, Garde watched the scores during each take, fagging wrong or questionable notes and offering suggestions for improving the dynamic balance between the instruments. For each student com- poser, their time on the podium was a chance to fully expe- rience the pressure they will face as professional composers. Each worked to get the best take as the clock ticked and Abbey Road's crack engineering team, led by Simon Rhodes, worked magic with the sound. According to Brian Cole, Valencia's dean of academic af- fairs, the students learned in the fall of 2014 that this year's culminating projects would be done at Abbey Road. Previous classes had done similar projects in Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles (in 2013) and Air Studios in London (in 2014). Most of the students prepared for months to have the best possible cue ready. "They had the choice of fnding a video through Vimeo or some other source, or creating a storyline and then underscoring it," Godoy said. In preparation, they were re- quired to create a MIDI mockup for the faculty to hear in ad- vance of the sessions—another process they will need to understand for future work with professional movie directors. "Some of the scenes the students chose could have been scored very simply with a sustained note and one or two other instruments," Godoy said. "But most wanted to use the full orchestra since they had the chance." Godoy also noted that the participating students made up a diverse interna- tional group with eight women and 25 men representing 19 nationalities. Participants came from Asia, North and South America, the Middle East, and Europe. "I found it interesting this year when I'd assign them all the same cue, how dif- ferent each would be," Godoy said. "They didn't realize it, but often they would bring something from their own culture into the cue." Some composers took the opportunity with their pieces to demonstrate that they are capable of writing music with the grand orchestral sweep of their heroes (e.g. John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore). Others preferred to reveal their own identity. Personal Style For her cue, Zuzana Michlerová (of the Czech Republic) chose to underscore an oceanographic clip. Images of waves crashing against tall cliffs juxtaposed with undersea land- scapes and footage of sea creatures swimming slowly in small groups or darting rapidly in large formations, offered much to stimulate Michlerová's vivid musical imagina- tion. Conducting confdently and with much animation, her waist-length blond tresses few as she guided the orchestra through her cue's dynamic peaks and valleys. "My background is in classical composition," Michlerová says. "Before coming to Valencia, I studied composition and voice at the Prague Conservatory. For this piece I intentionally tried to create a hybrid of classical and flm music, I wanted my classical side to come out. We could choose whatever By Mark Small The value of providing hands-on experience for gaining skills has been recognized for millennia. What follows are stories of experiential learning efforts directed by Berklee faculty members to give their students a taste of what awaits them in their chosen felds. Zuzana Michlerová Things get real for Valencia flm scoring students EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Berklee today - OCT 2015