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A View from the Summit

By Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs

There are many sites to see in Valencia. Depending on where you stand your perspective can be dramatically altered. From the bridges spanning the Palau de les Arts, you see the expanse of truly vivid imaginations. It is compositional in nature. Fluid. Impressive and yet subtle with a filigree of detail juxtaposed with complex imagery. This imagery can also describe the incredible group of creative and inspired minds holding court at the 2012 Berklee International Network Summit.

2012 Summit Guests

2012 Berklee International Summit Guests - 60 Attendees from, 24 institutions and organizations in 20 countries.

As I looked across Sala A, I saw individuals with a deep passion for the craft and art of music and music education. They are an inspirational organization that is reflective of what my teachers and mentors at Berklee have shared with me of Lawrence Berk and those keeping to his ideals.

At the Summit, we set out to meet three goals.  Our partners had the opportunity to be introduced to the new vice president of global initiatives Guillermo Cisneros. This is the first Summit Guillermo has presided over. Equally important, we introduced our partners to the new campus at the Palau. Finally, by incorporating a number of new institutions and organizations with whom Berklee has been working over the past few years at the Summit, we worked to expand the potential of this truly dynamic global organization.

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Freiburg’s Classes Provide New Lens for Students

“One more time,” Jordan Casty instructed the musicians as he conducted West Side Story’s “America.”

“But why?” instructor Alexander Beer asked. “As a conductor you need to tell them why, how to improve.”

Casty, one of four Berklee students studying at the Jazz and Rock Schulen last semester, gave more explicit directions. At the same time, he noted that some communication can be unspoken.

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Freiburg: Location, Location, Location

If you accidentally fall or step into Freiburg’s Bächle (a beautiful system of gutters throughout the city diverting water from the Dreisam River), you’ll marry a Freiburger. Freiburg is reportedly the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, yet sometimes the weather can be unpredictable, making layering or Zwiebel-Taktick—translated as peeling an onion) key. A farmers’ market takes place in the Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square) every day except Saturday. Freiburg is an eco-city where cycling (try walking a few feet without seeing a bicycle) and recycling reign, and its mayor is a member of the Green Party (Bundinis 90/Die Grunen).

View of Freiburg from atop the Schlossberg

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Inspiration in Freiburg

It’s amazing what unfamiliar territory can do for the creative juices. Take, for example, living in a foreign country. That’s the effect living in Freiburg has had on Will Park, a second semester vocalist/guitar player.

He’s found songwriting inspiration for new material while in Freiburg and traveling to other European countries. One favorite spot is Aspekt café, where he wrote “Feeling Good Again.”

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Making Musical and Cultural Connections in Freiburg

Here in Freiburg, Berklee’s study abroad students are making connections with other international students—and with each other—inside and outside the classroom.

They’re playing in ensembles with Jazz and Rock Schulen students. (It’s worth noting that the building where the rehearsal rooms are housed is a bit of a maze—a much smaller version of the 150 Mass. Ave. building labyrinth.) The musicians speak a mix of English, German, French, and Italian, translated in part by instructor German Klaiber, who also serves as their bass player. “Music is the language that works,” he says.

One band—featuring flutist Vanessa Garber and vocalist Jordan Casty—played an Al Jarreau arrangement of “Mas que Nada,” a Brazilian samba standard. Another rehearsed “Empty” by Metric—a choice by student vocalist Leah Dennis, who like the band, hails from Toronto.

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