The best smile!

First time I met mr. Victor Mendoza was 6 years ago. He took us and a couple of students out for tapas. He was actually the first faculty member I met at the Valencia campus.

The thing with Victor is, is that he’s so likeable. A great man with the best sense of humor and so much passion for his profession. He’s a musician who knows how to teach as well. Keep in mind that not every musician is a great teacher.

His students all admire him, not only cause they are impressed with the work he has done, but mainly cause he makes time for each and every one of them. He’s the kind of teacher who wants to make his students better. They all know him and he knows all of them.

The students arrive at Berklee with a dream which is to have a successful career in music. Victor knows what the life of a musician is all about and he knows it’s not an easy one. The way he approaches the studentst and guides them is very admirable. He loves music so much it’s important to him that the quality of the music is maintained and that the future of music is save.

Read the interview I did with one of the kindest music teachers around in the Portraits section.

Pictured: Victor Mendoza

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Canned food & a Dutch Queen

I've been travellng back and forth every year to Valencia ever since Berklee opened it's doors in 2012 at the City of Arts and Science.

I still remember my first visit to the Valencia campus. At that time I didn't know Berklee even had a location in Spain. I was just walking around by myself in this giant piece of artwork created by the famous architect Calatrava. While I was enjoying this futuristic, pure, calm, impressive, peaceful scenery I pass by these big windows which read; Berklee College of Music. I just went in and gathered all the info I could get my hands on. The thought of sun, sea, food and music was the perfect combo for me. That moment I was completely unaware off the connection I was about to develop with this school.

A month or so later I received an email from a friend, Patrice Rushen, telling me she was invited to go to Berklee to organize a couple of classes, workshops and lectures. She asked me if I wanted to meetup with her in Valencia and eversince i've been hanging out with her whenever she went there. The visits have always been and are still very nice. Not only did I get to meet and interact with students, faculty and industry people, but I also got to be part of the Berklee experience. Attending the classes and just listening added more to my musical knowledge.

Throughout the years the staff has always welcomed me with open arms and I feel very priviliged to be in that position. We all got to know eachother a bit better and shared some fun times together. Somehow there was always food present....lol. I remember María taking us to this restaurant in Valencia called "La Conservera". They serve canned food!!! If you get the chance please do check it out, cause it really is delicious and quite the experience. For me personally a very memorable moment was the time I had dinner with María in Holland. It was her first time visiting and let me tell you once she started reading out loud the menu in Dutch I swear she sounds exactly like our Queen Maxima.....lol Is that why the Berklee letters on the windows are orange?...lol

María Martínez Iturriaga was Dean of Admissions when I met her. She has always been very driven, passionate and dedicated to her work. Someone who's very determined to make a difference, but also very eager to learn. The hard work paid off cause as a result she's leading one of the biggest music schools in the world as an Executive Director.

Gracias María for telling your story! Buena suerte y hasta pronto!

The interview can be found in the Portraits section here.

 

 

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#BerkleeGrad2018

Gowns ready?....check........caps ready?.....check

The commencement ceremony is about to start. The students already got in early to prepare for their big day. After a year of hard work and dedication the time has finally come to tell the world:  I’m a Berklee Master graduate.

It’s a really hot day and i mean a really hot day in Valencia. It’s early but as you walk towards the Paula de les Arts you already see people standing there waiting. Friends and family all neatly dressed to witness their child, relative, friend, peer, get a diploma in music.

As we walk to the location you can not ignore the beauty of the Palau from the outside, once you get in it’s even better. We get in line in front of the Auditori Superior and i notice that we are surrounded by different languages, different cultures. Over 30 countries are being represented.

It’s like the world got together in one place. And you know what is it that brought them together? MUSIC.

The place looks stunning. The stage is set and people are taking their seats. In the background you hear music, after a couple of minutes i found out it was actually a real ensemble playing.

 

At exactly 10:00 am the students come in to take their place followed by staff, faculty and a board of trustees who take place on the stage. They are joined by honorary guest Al Di Meola and provost Larry Simpson.

On Berklee’s Facebook Page you can watch the entire ceremony.

 

It’s nice to witness the ceremony and see the relieved faces of the students once they receive their diplomas. Proud family members snapping pictures, proud faculty members sharing their experience and views on this last school year, proud students who became a Berklee Master graduate.

 

Downstairs at the Palau there’s a gathering to end not only the commencement weekend but also the school year. It’s the last time everyone gets together before flying out and follow their own paths. Who knows where it will lead to. They experienced a lot together in that single year, paths crossed and now in a way they’re separating again. When it comes to music it’s important to have a network so i believe in a way everyone will stay in touch. Some more than others.

Just like that a journey ends and another one is about to begin.

Congratulations class of 2018! Good luck and may your future be filled with MUSIC.

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La Nit de Berklee

The stage is set in the middle of La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The city of Arts & Science). The location is stunning and the weather amazing. Students are excited for this year’s edition of La Nit de Berklee which is called “Band of Travelers”. This in recognition of the diverse band of fellow travelers and the train of music they are all on at Berklee Valencia.

 

Before the show starts i decide to walk over to the city of arts and take a peek at all the preparations. Students are walking around, so are the teachers and tech people around the stage, they all seem excited. What i notice is that none of them look really nervous, but then again you never know what’s really going on inside of a person’s head. The stage is big accompanied by 2 big screens on either side of the stage and one big screen behind the chairs in front of the stage. By the looks of it they’re expecting a lot of people.

The 2 hour show is about to start and there are already long lines in front of the stage. If you have a ticket for the show it means there is a seat reserved for you till 9:30. After that seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Unfortunately timing is off and “doors open” around 22:00, but that can’t spoil the mood. Friends, family, music lovers are all looking forward to Berklee’s big night.

The show opens with an animated feature. A short film about love (what else) had some people questioning. What does this have to do with Berklee? Only to realize later on that the music in the film was created by the students. It shows again how important music is to visualization and how it can add more emotion and give a story more strength on the big screen.

María Martínez Iturriaga is the beautiful lady in red who’s taking the stage next. She is the Executive Director for Berklee College of Music in Valencia. I’ve known her since Berklee launched the Valencia school 5 years ago. Later this week i’ll be doing an interview with her and you can read all about it on this blog. (story will follow soon)

 

 

The audience is being welcomed on this special night. It’s also the celebration of the 20 year existence of the gorgeous Hemisfèric. (the first building to open their gates for the public in La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). On screens we get an extra welcome from the international students (in their own language) who are attending Berklee. 34 countries are represented. Followed by the first performance on stage.

Each performance show students who are driven and determined to show the audience what they are capable off. Some are more confident than others, but we need to understand it’s a learning experience. The past year they’ve been working hard to get closer to their dreams and tonight is one of those nights they can share their passion with basically the world (since there’s a livestream on Facebook of the event).

The show not only has the focus on the stage performers but also demonstrates how important music and sound are by showing pieces of film accompanied by music scores done by students.

In between the performances clips are being shown where students talk about their background and the Berklee experience. It proofs again that this place has become an international hub for music and is still growing.

At the end of the first set we get treated on a performance by legendary guitarist Al Di Meola. He’s the guest on Berklee campus this week. Not only will he perform tonight but on Monday he will receive an honorary doctorate from Berklee.

During the 20 minute intermission the DJ-ing students are showing their skills. The 2nd half of the concert continues to be a diverse presentation of music, film, talent, performance and the Berklee experience. The international influence is noticeable on all of the acts which makes the show enjoyable for everyone. If you like reggae, Latin, rock, pop, jazz.......all ingredients are being presented.

 

The show ends with a performance by the students accompanied by Jove Banda Simfonica de la Federation de Societats Musicals de la Comunitat Valenciana.

 

La Nit de Berklee is a 2 hour summary of all the talent that has been developed in this one year program. It’s entertaining, enjoyable and gives you a little insight on what is really happening throughout the year in this modern futuristic building located in Las Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. So how was the quality of the performance? It was not perfect, but that’s normal. A lot of these students just started out in the world of music, so you can not expect them to be flawless. They are studying and practicing to become better. It needs time, dedication, patience and the willingness to learn and listen to what others have to say. You could tell however they were having fun doing this. Nothing but enhusiastic and smiling faces on stage performing to the best of their ability.

This was the first time I got to experience La Nit de Berklee and i’m looking forward to what the next generation of music industry people will offer next year.

Buena nit guapos!

 

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