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dan carlin

Final days in India—with the composer of Slumdog Millionnaire

To round off his trip, Berklee film scoring chair met famed composer A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionnaire fame, and reports on his efforts to promote musicianship in Chennai.

India Trip Conclusion (Feb. 16, 17, 18)

Tuesday morning marked our second day of Mumbai auditions. (Michael and I were greatly relieved to discover that the maintenance crew at the audition building had worked through the night to fix the air-conditioning.) Again we heard a wide range of student presentations—including a couple of really extraordinary performances. To the extent our India travels were initiated with the goal of finding talented Indian students who would thrive at Berklee, this trip has been a clear success.

During the lunch break, I left my colleagues and headed to the Mumbai airport for Chennai (Madras). I was welcomed most warmly by Srini Krishnan, provost of the KM Music Conservatory. His driver delivered us to the home and studio of A.R. Rahman, the Oscar/Grammy-winning composer of the film Slumdog Millionaire.

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India, days 9+10: Auditioning students in Mumbai

Film scoring chair Dan Carlin sends his next-to-last dispatch from Berklee’s big trip to India.

Greetings from Chennai, India,

Instead of spending Sunday with our Valentines in and around Boston, my colleagues and I presented four clinics and a panel to interested musicians and students at the Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai (or, Bombay, as most of the natives call it). We explored aspects of ear training, improvisation, modal patterns, film scoring, and music education. It was a long and rewarding day, and those in attendance were welcoming, receptive, and inquisitive.

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India, days 7+8: On to Mumbai

Dan Carlin, Berklee chair of film scoring, writes in from the college’s first audition and interview trip to India:

India, Days 7 & 8 (February 12, 13, 2010)

Yesterday, our team of 6 packed up early and headed to the New Delhi airport for the flight to Mumbai. The flight is two hours long, but the really interesting part is the last half hour when we get back under cloud cover to see the countryside, which is visually stunning. The mountains are extremely jagged; there is a dam, there are lakes and rivers, there are farms, then slums, then the city itself, and, finally, there is the Arabian Sea. The air is much cleaner in Mumbai than in New Delhi.

Stepping off the plane, the differences between the two cities become more exaggerated; here there are palm trees, ocean breezes, and a casualness lacking in the more frenetic and commercial New Delhi (see below). Even though New Delhi is India’s capital, Mumbai is the home of the great museums, sculptures, art galleries, concert halls, and movie studios.

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India, days 5+6: In the audition room

Dan Carlin, Berklee’s chair of film scoring, reports.

Feb. 10–11: Over the past two days, we’ve held Berklee auditions at the Performers Collective here in Gurgaon, India. The demand was so great that, instead of working in shifts, our two audition teams were forced to double-book. In addition, this necessitated our corralling David McKay (Berklee’s vice president of institutional advancement) into performing interviews to handle the overflow.

On Wednesday, I teamed with Gregorio “The Great” Badolato. We saw a wide range of student musicians, some performing traditional ethnic music, some singing jazz or pop tunes, some spicing up Indian ragas with western harmonics, some playing the blues.

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India, day 4: Conversations, computers, and audition prep

By Dan Carlin, February 9, 2010.

Today we presented several clinics at the Performers Collective, covering such topics as improvisation, funk, film music, and music business. The students, once again, were very attentive and inquisitive. In fact, our experience over these last couple of days has been that once a clinic ends, we remain for a good 20 to 30 minutes speaking individually with students who are overflowing with questions.

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