Top talent, top teachers and best-fit partner, says USA’s Berklee College of Music about SA
Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, says South Africa’s Cape Town Jazz Festival (CTIJF) is its ideal African partner giving the College instant access to a rich network of local music practitioners, teachers and prospective students.
Four well-accomplished musicians-teachers-arts administrators from Berklee College of Music will visit South Africa for the third year running in April, taking part in the CTIJF’s sustainable training and development programmes while conducting auditions and interviews with prospective Berklee students from across Africa.
Last year over 70 youngsters took part in the auditions which had to be extended by a day because of the large number of applicants.
Speaking from Boston Samuel Skau, Assistant Director of International Programs at Berklee says: “We are extremely grateful for the support that our partner espAfrika provides to make Berklee’s African programme possible. Its outreach to educators, local music initiatives, young students and local and regional communities is extremely powerful.
“Both the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and espAfrika are recognised as world-class organisations and therefore complement Berklee’s own global standing. The CTIFJF training and development programme’s integration into the festival itself makes it a natural point of connection for us.”
Skau added that over the past two years the Berklee team had met some exceptional teachers in Cape Town. He said these teachers are deeply committed to their students and connect them with incredible opportunities that they might not have otherwise.
The recruitment of African students remains a key focus of Berklee’s annual trip to Cape Town. But Skau says their involvement in classes and training sessions is just as important. “The festival’s development projects give us the opportunity to meet and interact with talented and innovative young South Africans. Conversely, they have the opportunity to with our world renowned teachers and to experience a little bit of Berklee in their own country.”
As an alumnus of Berklee, Skau says there is no place on earth where music students will experience such depth and diversity of music training. “Berklee has a unique inter-departmental curriculur structure with a massive choice of courses and over 500 music teachers. Also, the chemistry from the blend of 4 300 music students from over 90 countries as they interact with each other in classes, ensembles, and interdepartmental projects creates an environment like none other, anywhere.”
Programmes offered at Berklee cover a wide spectrum of careers in music including Music Business and Management, Music Production and Engineering, Performance, Music Therapy, Electronic Production and Design, Jazz Composition, Contemporary Writing and Production, and many others.
Skau says this kind of depth and diversity forms a microcosm of the music industry right on the Berklee campus. He says he sees this mirrored by the CTIJF itself andits training and development initiatives that form a huge part of it.
Berklee conducts programs, and several thousands of auditions and interviews on six continents, and awards nearly 30 million dollars in scholarships, each year, to deserving young music students.
In addition to the standard undergraduate scholarship awards, Berklee will award two full-tuition scholarships for young musicians from Africa to attend its famous and immensely successful 5-Week Summer Performance Programme in Boston, USA, and two Berklee Online awards to our award winning online school.
“The four awards will be made during the festival period while the undergraduate scholarships will be announced at a later stage.”
Last year, Megan Saayman from Cedar High and Gavin Kemp from Mitchells Plein were awarded scholarships to the Summer Performance Programme.
“Through our auditions and interviews in Cape Town, we expect to see and hear fantastic young musicians well deserving of the Berklee scholarships,” says Skau.