Monday, 6 July 2015

Berklee and Boston Conservatory Plan To Merge

The Boston Conservatory and  the Berklee College of Music, announced on June 25th 2015 that were exploring a merger that could take effect as soon as next year. This could make for some massive changes in the current program. The combination of Berklee's world renowned music education curriculum and tech resources with the Boston Conservatory's dramatic arts and dance programs would be an unrivalled stack of talent and support. The two programs already have begun mixing at the student level. Acting, Dance, and Music all go hand in hand. There are already many music students providing the backing tracks to many dance recitals and performances put on by the Boston Conservatory. The actors need music sound tracks. The musicians need actors and dancers for performances and music videos. This is a merger that can help artists collaborate on a very high level.   In support of Berklee’s vision for 2025 to “transform the future of music education,” our two institutions will work together to reimagine 21st century music and performing arts education, and to create the best possible educational environment to prepare our students to succeed in their careers. Agreed to in the MOU is that the name of the combined institution, should we finalize the merger, would be “Berklee,” with the conservatory known as “The Boston Conservatory at Berklee.” My role would be to serve as president of the combined institution. Conservatory President Richard Ortner is a trusted friend and colleague whom I’ve known since he first welcomed me as president of Berklee in 2004. With our neighboring institutions and shared commitment to music and arts education, we continually look for ways to collaborate. For example, Conservatory and Berklee students share dining facilities, a number of faculty teach at both institutions, students regularly perform together in concerts and ensembles, and the institutions share campus security operations. The college and the conservatory also have a shared history as founding members of the ProArts Consortium and the Boston Arts Academy, and through the consortium, students can cross-register for classes. This MOU serves as a way to explore deeper collaboration. The Boston Conservatory was founded in 1867—making it the oldest performing arts conservatory in the country—and has divisions in music, dance, and theater. The dance program was recently ranked number one in the country in contemporary dance, and number four overall, by OnStage. Alumni of the Musical Theater Department have received dozens of Tony Award nominations, and in 2013, a Conservatory alumni was a cast member in nearly every Tony-nominated production. And the Music Department has established itself as a leader in new classical music composition. Leading up to the MOU, a number of constituencies and individuals were engaged to share their knowledge and insight. Among these were Conservatory program directors; Berklee’s deans and members of the chair group who have conservatory background, including Arnold Friedman, Kim Perlak, and David Wallace; Berklee AFT Chapter President Jackson Schultz; selected faculty—some of whom teach at both institutions—including Prince Charles Alexander, Marti Epstein, Jonathan Holland, Gus Sebring, [...]

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