The world's largest independent
music college, The Berklee College of Music
located in Boston, Massachusetts and the General Society of Authors and Editors
(SGAE) has partnered to build Berklee Valencia, a new college for global,
contemporary music education. Roger H.
Brown, president of Boston's Berklee College of Music shares how it all came to
be. “Valencia the province or region of
Spain that Valencia is in it is one of the richest musical areas in Spain. If you compared it to the United States you
might think of it like the New Orleans of Spain its has this deep musical
tradition and famous for its band program,” he says.
”There are over five hundred villages with symphonic bands and essentially the governor of that province decided that it would be great to have some kind of program teaching contemporary music and then there is a large organization in Spain called SGAE, General Society of Authors and Editors – the Rights and Royalty organization of Spain collects royalties for artists and they decided to work in conjunction with the government of Valencia to create this program and they asked musicians who the best partner would be and I think several musicians told them the Berkley college of music of Boston would be the best choice. So they approached us and came to visit us and it took off from there.”
The college will have an undergraduate as well as a graduate program. President Brown says there will also be an opportunity for working music professionals to spend time there. There will be three types of programs at Berklee Valencia. One will be for undergraduates and one will be for graduate students and the other will be working professionals who want to come for short periods of time and brush up their skills,” he says.
The focus will be cutting edge music technology in areas like film scoring, writing for TV and video games and other new media. There will be extensive programs in music business and global entertainment management. There will be performance oriented programs, composition oriented programs, programs in production and engineering, audio engineering and then there will also be two additional programs in the symphonic band movement is so prevalent in Valencia, the other we are calling Mediterranean music, looking at the influence of all the music from North Africa, the Middle East, Spain and the rest of Europe.
Already, more than one thousand students have expressed interests in the program. President Brown says for as many international students who currently attend Berklee College of Music, Berklee Valencia will give American students an opportunity to study abroad and be influenced by another culture musically as well as historically. “That’s one of our primary motivation I think that American musicians are going to be living in an ever increasingly globalize world and they need to understand the music and culture of other places and also I think just for their own growth as human beings it is really good to see another culture, get an experience outside of your own small world,” he says.
“So I hope is that at any given time there will be roughly two hundred American students from Berklee Boston studying abroad in Valencia and they will not only study music and take advantage of all the musical offerings, but also study the Spanish language and the culture of Spain, history of Spain in the Valencia region.”
So why is this an unparalleled undertaking for Berklee College? President Brown says.."Well Berklee has long considered itself a school that focuses on Jazz, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop, Latin music and other contemporary music forms and it has attracted students from all around the world. We have students from over seventy countries at Berklee in Boston right now and many of the leading musicians in many countries have been educated in Berklee. So, we have always been an international school and we have long thought it would be good to have a campus in another part of the world, both so that our domestic American students could study abroad and get exposed to other cultures, but also so we could embrace another part of the world,” he says.
“I think Valencia is a very logical place to be because of course it’s very easy to get to from anywhere in Europe. It is very close to North Africa, and the Middle East, which is a rich source of music ideas, its Spanish speaking obviously and now about thirteen percent of the U-S population are native Spanish speakers and of course there is all of Latin America, so in terms of a second language to be working in Spanish is a very logical choice and as I said this sort of hotbed of great music in Spain and we have strong governmental support and for all those reasons it seems to be a fantastic place and I guess I would throw in it is right on the Mediterranean sea so I thing students will enjoy being there.”
Former Berklee student and Grammy award winning artist Carlos Colon is from Puerto Rico. He says the Berklee Valencia School will give an opportunity of a lifetime to international students who can't come to the United States to attend Berklee in Boston. “I think that there are a lot of perspective students that don’t have the ability to go to the United States to study and having Berklee in Europe, it opens the world to the Berklee education on another level,” he says.
“Here in Puerto Rico we have like a program, Berklee brings every year and there are a lot of students that don’t have access to Berklee in Boston and get a lot from Berklee here,” he says.
“So I think that having a whole like college in Europe it is going to open another world to the Berklee experience in a new way.”
For more information about Berklee Valencia visit the website www.berkleevalencia.org.