Boston, MA- Berklee announces the inaugural class for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), a unique center at the college designed to foster creativity and musicianship through various musical disciplines. World-renowned pianist Danilo Perez serves as its artistic director. Students may pursue a performance degree, diploma, or a two-year certificate through the Institute.

BGJI has three main goals: to provide an interdisciplinary music program where students may explore their creativity to the highest level; to explore the social power of music as a tool for the betterment of society; and to connect musical creative thinking with the restoration of nature.

The BGJI students will benefit from an innovative curriculum taught by a select group of prestigious Berklee faculty, including Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Garzone, Bill Pierce, Jamey Haddad, and Allan Chase. Students will also be mentored by world- renowned visiting artists and artists-in-residence, including John Patitucci and Ben Street.

The program’s directed study classes and seminars are designed to help the students build a community of creativity. Classes include Introduction to Global Jazz, focusing on the development of jazz, from Africa to Europe and the Americas; Global Jazz Workshop Assembly, offering a forum for artists-in-residence and presentations from the Liberal Arts, Music Therapy, and Composition departments; and Creative Improvisation Through Interdisciplinary Collaboration, exploring the creative process and the connection between jazz and performing and visual arts, including painting and dance.

Experiential and service learning will also be integral to the program. Explains Marco Pignataro, managing director for the BGJI, «They’ve been given this great musical talent. We’ll teach that as artists, they are responsible to positively affect their communities.»
In addition to playing with and being mentored by jazz masters, the students will also travel together to play at festivals in Panama, Puerto Rico, and other places, and record original material in the studio. They will give back to the community by working with children, teaching music locally through Berklee’s City Music program, and in other cities during Institute performance trips. Students will develop the skills needed to become role models for a new generation of musicians and inspire leadership in others.

Says Perez, with regards to the third goal, «The program will provide interactive experiences in uncommon settings, such as the jungle or the forest, where music is used to promote interaction with indigenous cultures and is used to create awareness about the importance of the restoration of ecology.»

Berklee has selected 14 students to enter the inaugural BGJI class in January, 2010. Finalists were chosen based on a live audition and interview to determine the best fit. While the institute looks to attract advanced players that are musically gifted, selection for the BGJI is not solely based on musical proficiency.

In addition to demonstrating creativity and instrumental proficiency, applicants must have a social awareness and be open to other disciplines. Applicants are encouraged to submit personal work in other artistic disciplines, along with original music. Says Pignataro, «We’re looking to foster multifaceted, creative students that will be also open to artistic interests other than music. We’re looking to develop the whole artist, not just the musician.»

The BGJI students were chosen in mid-November and details of the program were officially announced at the Panama Jazz Festival’s Gala Night on January 13, 2010.

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