Berklee College of Music has announced the launch of the BerkleeNYC Community Fund, which raises money for educational programming, scholarships for K-12 students in need, community outreach, and partnerships at BerkleeNYC, the college’s new New York home located in the famed Power Station (formerly Avatar) studios – now known as Power Station at BerkleeNYC.
The fund creates opportunities to nurture some of New York’s young musicians, creators and performing artists. Working with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the New York City Department of Education, and neighborhood after-school programs, the fund directly supports students by immersing them in world-class experiential learning opportunities using the latest technologies, including recording sessions with cinematic 360 Virtual Reality audio and video capture.
This effort is already underway: the BerkleeNYC team has produced several 360 capture videos at the studio with students, including the popular Berklee Indian Ensemble and Boys and Girls Harbor of Harlem; and professional artists, including Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider. The videos showcase the unique design of the studio and break ground in the creation of 360 music content. The latest BerkleeNYC 360 video – out today – is a collaboration with the Bronx-based Renaissance Youth Center Music With A Message (MWAM) Band.
“At Power Station at BerkleeNYC, we are creating unique and powerful opportunities for inspired young performers to help them fully realize their creative and career potential,” said Stephen Webber, executive director of BerkleeNYC. “Together with our partners, we’re seeking to make a significant impact on the lives of students and musical artists, and our shared musical culture.”
Since acquiring the building in late 2017 and establishing BerkleeNYC, Berklee has presented a variety of forward-thinking educational programs on topics including audio and video production, songwriting, music synchronization, method acting for musicians, musical direction, music business law, and creating band agreements. Upcoming programs include Crowdfunding for Musicians: Secrets to Building Your Online Audience, presented by indie nerd-folk comedy duo The Doubleclicks on May 14; and a day-long training session for New York public school teachers focusing on music production, hosted with Berklee City Music, on May 17.
Power Station at BerkleeNYC is currently undergoing a $15 million renovation. Refurbishments and additions will include a video control room, high-definition cinematic video capability and film stage quality lighting, 360-degree virtual reality capability, and ensemble rehearsal classrooms, along with enhanced facilities and infrastructure. BerkleeNYC plans to reopen permanently in the fall of 2020 as a hub of education and creativity, and a state-of-the-art recording facility.
During the renovations to the iconic studio, BerkleeNYC has relocated its operations to the Safehouse, a Clinton Housing Development Company (CHDC) facility at 500 West 52nd Street, New York. In its new, temporary location, BerkleeNYC continues to be neighbors with several community-based organizations, including the 52nd Street Project, Arts New York, INTAR Theatre, and MCC Theater, facilitating collaborations and partnerships benefiting local youth in Hell’s Kitchen and beyond.
Power Station at BerkleeNYC has hosted more than 600 recording sessions in the past year, from solo artists and small groups to large Broadway cast albums; film and TV soundtracks including Fosse/Verdon, Mary Poppins Returns, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Ocean’s 8; and recording sessions for artists including DJ Khaled, Diana Krall ‘83, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Mick Jagger, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Wynton Marsalis, Janelle Monáe, Paul Simon ‘86H, Esperanza Spalding B.M. ‘05 ‘18H, and Steven Tyler ‘03H of Aerosmith.