Tod Oliviere, Berklee Director of Scholarships and Student Employment, blogs about the Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition in Santo Domingo. For more info on scholarships, check out

Michel Camilo jams with one of the applicants.

The second edition of the Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday and Friday, June 7th & 8th.  I traveled with Greg Badolato, Assistant Vice President of International Programs and Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs to conduct the auditions and interviews for aspiring Dominican musicians to compete for the prestigious Michel Camilo Scholarship, which covers full tuition to Berklee, housing, and the laptop fee.

Over sixty students submitted an application with a demo CD and we selected the top thirty-one musicians to compete for this scholarship, as well as other partial scholarships to Berklee.  We were privileged to have Michel Camilo himself participate in the audition process, and he even played with a couple of the students.  What a treat for those students!  Many of the students were humbled by the opportunity to perform for such a master musician, which also provided them with incredible motivation to continue to improve their skills as young musicians.

Our visit was sponsored in large part by the multinational telecommunications corporation Orange ( as well as our marketing partner ESTRATEGIA, S. A.  Berklee is grateful for all of their support and the tremendous support of Herminio Alberti in coordinating the entire event.

Our two-day event culminated in the selection of an outstanding guitarist by the name of Roger De La Rosa as our newest Michel Camilo Scholar.  Roger was unanimously chosen by the scholarship panel from a group of eight finalists.  In addition to being a talented musician in his own right, Roger is also the younger brother of one of this year’s Presidential Scholars, Helen De La Rosa.  We’re extremely excited to be welcoming Roger and Helen to Berklee in September, and we look forward to a whole lot of great music from this talented family duo.  This award marks the first time in the college’s history where we have awarded a brother and sister combination Presidential-level awards.

(L to R) Tod Oliviere, Roger De La Rosa and family, Michel Camilo, Jason Camelio & Greg Badolato

In addition to the Michel Camilo Scholarship, we also awarded five talented students partial scholarships towards our undergraduate program in Boston, and we awarded two students full tuition awards to our Five Week Summer Performance Program for 2013.  All in all, we issued over $600,000 in scholarships to an excellent group of Dominican musicians.

Our warmest, heartfelt thanks go out to Michel and Sandra Camilo for creating this wonderful opportunity for Dominican musicians to have a chance to study at Berklee College of Music.  The trip was incredibly successful and we look forward to our next opportunity to go back to Santo Domingo and recruit more talented students to Berklee.

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