Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: Michel Camilo

Michel Camilo

Newport Jazz Festival 2015

yoshieYoshie Nakayama, from Tokyo, is a Contemporary Writing and Production major, finished her 5th semester in the Spring 2015. She studies arranging, recording/mixing with ProTools, and singing in vocal ensemble. She graduated Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo with Bachelor of Music from Music Education major, Music Education minor, with a license of teaching music in japanese Junior high/senior high schools.

この週末に金曜から3日間開催されたNewport Jazz Festivalに行ってきました。去年も素晴らしかったのですが、今年も豪華な出演者のラインナップで、個人的には去年よりも好きなアーティストが多かったです。
NJF2015 Sat.

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Michel Camilo Scholarship Competition

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.

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Generosity – Dominican-Style

By: Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs

As the last finalist walked from the recital hall at the National Theater in Santo Domingo, we on the audition panel turned to one another and shared a few smiles. On one hand, the easy part was done. Over the past day and a half we had auditioned 30+ talented young musicians that had been selected as finalists for the 2012 Michel Camilo Scholarship. The hard part was about to begin. We now had to select the one candidate to receive the presidential scholarship generously donated by Michel.

We had heard fantastic auditions covering various styles. From exceptional performances of classical piano repertoire, to stellar Jazz and Blues to even transcriptions of Michel’s work — the overall quality showcased made it clear that these young musicians are not messing around. Much of what they have accomplished is due to their individual commitment to music study.  This is helped along my high level music education at places like the National Conservatory — where Michel studied.

The Conservatory now has a strong contemporary music program focusing on the Jazz tradition. One of the program directors and faculty is a Berklee alum Javier Vargas. Javier was extremely proud to have a number of his students selected as finalists for the competition.

2012 Michel Camilo Award Finalists

2012 Michel Camilo Award Finalists

Director of scholarships Tod Oliviere, assistant vice president for international program Greg Badolato, Michel and I began our deliberations. Going back through the detailed notes we had taken from the auditions and interviews, names began to emerge. As with many awarding situations, Tod knew that there were many potential recipients.

In the end, one performance stood out. A student from the Conservatory and an exceptional young guitarist, Roger De La Rosa. In this moment, his life changed thanks to Michel’s gift, dedication and support of young Dominican musicians.

It is important to note that Berklee also awarded a number of partial-tuition scholarships as well as a couple of 5 week Summer Performance Programs Scholarships to the other fine talents in the group of finalists.

Also, we owe a debt of thanks to the National Theater for allowing us use of the space for this event, to Orange (telecommunications provider) for sponsoring this event and providing us with top-notch support.  And extra special thanks goes to Herminio León who is not only an artist in the business world, but an award-winning photographer.  He and his team made this event truly special for all involved.

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