By: Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs
Mozart would have been impressed by the rendition of Eine kleine Nachtmusik blazing through the row of Fender amplifiers lined across the stage at the Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall this afternoon. Eight exceptional Brazilian guitarist picking, hammering-on, pulling-off, swelling with their volume knobs whilst the conductor who could have passed for a rhythm guitarist for Crimson Glory waived in arms to keep time and cue the various passages screaming forth.
The eight musicians are students from our Berklee International Network (BIN) partner Conservatorio Souza Lima in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The gentlemen getting the workout at the podium is Berklee alum and Souza Lima faculty member Ciro Visconti. The group is the Souza Lima Guitar Orchestra and they have been visiting Berklee this week as part of a student exchange program managed by the Office of International Programs. The Orchestra joins a group from Music Academy International (MAI), another BIN partner from Nancy, France. Six students from MAI are also visiting the colleague as part of an exchange. They are led by Berklee alum and head sound engineer at Euro Disney Marc Sublet.
As part of the visit this year, we worked with Tim-Paul Weiner in the Concert Office to set up a performance opportunity for the Guitar Orchestra. The Orchestra uses the string orchestra model as a basis for rendering orchestral repertoire with electric guitars…through stomp boxes, through tube amplifiers. Loudly, but with finesse. This afternoon, we were treated to a concert dedicated to a reigning champ in the world of the string orchestra — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The orchestra presented the Divertimento’s in D Major, Bb Major and F Major and closed out the set with Serenade No. 13 in G Major — A Little Night Music. The crush-endos of eight guitars through amps is definitely something you should and will feel if you have the opportunity to hear a group like this perform. The exceptionally challenging music was performed mostly from memory by excellent guitarist that have had to adapt their technique and even their instruments they use to perform the pieces.
Huge thanks to Ciro and the students for their fine performance and to Mario and Cris Cunha at Souza Lima for sponsoring their groups trip to Boston for a memorable event.