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Going global with music education program

Berklee brings six-day intensive to Dominican Republic

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Going global with music education program
Berklee students from the Dominican Republic with Milagros Germán, minister of culture, Dominican Republic (center). PHOTO: Stefanie Belnavis

The vibrant musical curriculum of Berklee College of Music is taking to new shores. Berklee Santo Domingo, running Jan. 9-14, 2023 at the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, will offer Dominican Republic residents the opportunity to experience Berklee coursework locally and interview and audition for admission and scholarship opportunities to Berklee College in Boston.

“This collaboration supports our mission of diversity, equity and inclusion, while preparing these gifted young artists for impactful careers,” says Berklee President Erica Muhl. “I look forward to seeing the program grow, and to building upon and strengthening our alliance in the coming years.”

The partnership of Berklee College of Music, the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo, AES Dominicana Foundation and Itabo is part of the college’s Berklee on the Road (BOR) program, which brings these opportunities to institutions around the globe. In addition to the Dominican Republic, BOR programs are headed to Perugia, Italy and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Milagros Germán, the Dominican Republic’s minister of culture, says, “Our organization believes that inter-institutional alliances are fundamental to the cultural development of our country. This agreement allows us to give the opportunity for academic training to our young people with the promise of music, and with this we take accurate steps towards the democratization of culture.”

The Santo Domingo program is a six-day intensive with all-day classes covering theory, ear training, improvisation, ensemble performance and instrumental instruction, as well as master class workshops from Berklee faculty and special guest artists. After practicing in class and at nightly jam sessions, students will present a final showcase concert at the end of the program.

Santo Domingo residents aged 15 years or older who have been playing an instrument or singing for at least six months are eligible for the program, which is free for candidates accepted into it. Students in the program can compete for a Michel Camilo Scholarship; a full-tuition scholarship for the undergraduate program; and five AES Dominicana Foundation awards to attend Aspire, Berklee’s five-week music performance intensive summer program.

For emerging artists in the Dominican Republic, these opportunities could be life changing.

“Music is the energy that sustains the souls of the world,” says AES Dominicana Foundation CEO Edwin De los Santos. “On behalf of the whole AES Dominicana team, Itabo, and my own, it’s very gratifying to see how we positively influence the Dominican culture by contributing [to] the musical formation of so many talented young people. We invite young artists to participate in Berklee in Santo Domingo, a program that will impact the lives of over 160 youths.”