STAGES Winter 2021

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STAG E S BOSTON CONSERVATORY AT BERKLEE

WINTER 2021


Dear friends, As 2021 comes to a close, I am inspired by our community’s ability to persevere, progress, and thrive as we navigate change with both intention and imagination. This fall, our campus sprang back to life with in-person learning and dazzling performances. Our stages lit up once again with our students’ artistry, our campus bustled with activity, and, most of all, we were fully present together as a community. We welcomed Erica Muhl as Berklee’s new president—the first woman leader of the institution—and it has been truly energizing to work with her in charting the future of Berklee. Although the last two years have brought profound challenges, for Boston Conservatory, they also brought incredible innovation. In this issue of STAGES, we look at how Boston Conservatory is reinventing the conservatory model through bold, unprecedented academic innovation. From groundbreaking new programs and globally driven partnerships to technology initiatives and new online courses, innovation is the engine propelling Boston Conservatory as the leading institution for performing arts education. I am thrilled to share with you what I view as the foundation of our academic innovation plan, as outlined in Boston Conservatory’s Strategic Direction for 2020–2025: the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (BCB) Method, the Conservatory’s signature educational approach, which empowers students with the key future-proof skills that equip them to excel in any career they choose, through creativity and fearless learning. As recent global crises make clear, confronting a world defined by constant change with confidence, adaptability, and creativity has never been more critical, and the BCB Method is designed to prepare our students to do just that. As you’ll see in this issue, by continually reevaluating and challenging norms and definitions around what a conservatory education is, Boston Conservatory is placing our students at the forefront of innovation—not only in terms of our educational model but in the dance, music, and theater industries themselves. Just as we encourage our students to be agents of change in the world, Boston Conservatory is embracing its own reinvention to help them actualize the future they imagine. Sincerely,

Cathy Young, Senior Vice President and Executive Director Boston Conservatory at Berklee


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SNAPSHOTS

Boston Conservatory stages light up once again with the return of in-person performances

NEW ALBUMS

Releases by Christina Jones and Eleri Ward reflect how music is created in these times

THE BCB METHOD: CULTIVATING CREATIVITY AND FEARLESS LEARNING An essay by Cathy Young

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ACADEMIC INNOVATION IN ACTION

Inaugural Faculty Strategic Innovation Grants spur curricular reinvention

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DISCOVERING WHO “AYAM”: AN ARTISTIC JOURNEY

An essay by recent graduate Maya Giles

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BEYOND WALLS

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SHAPING THE FUTURE WITH TECHNOLOGY

Boston Conservatory students break through the confines of the traditional performance venue in an outdoor public-space performance

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Boston Conservatory is using technology to create the future of the performing arts

STAGES is published for friends, parents, and alumni of Boston Conservatory at Berklee © 2021. Editor in Chief: Andrea Di Cocco Managing Editor: Annette Fantasia Contributors: Annette Fantasia, Maya Giles, Madison Spahn, Cathy Young Design: Michelle Parkos Copyeditor: Sara Arnold For changes to your address or mailing preferences, contact: chachten@berklee.edu

Boston Conservatory at Berklee 8 Fenway, Boston, MA 02215 617-536-6340 bostonconservatory.berklee.edu Admissions Information: Boston Conservatory at Berklee Office of Admissions 8 Fenway, Boston, MA 02215 617-912-9153 conservatoryadmissions@berklee.edu To give a gift to the Annual Fund, visit bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/giving.

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FORWARD MOMENTUM

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IN THE LIMELIGHT

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NOTEWORTHY

A look at the new programs, partnerships, and people transforming the academic experience

Recent happenings at Boston Conservatory

Recent accomplishments of Boston Conservatory alumni, faculty, staff, and students


Snapshots

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCES MAKE A JUBILANT RETURN This fall, the return of in-person events made for a season packed with electrifying performances by students, faculty, and guest artists. Emphasizing reflection, renewal, and hope for the future, these stellar presentations brought the Boston Conservatory community together and dazzled audiences at venues both on and off campus.

Boston Conservatory Percussion Ensemble performed works by Louis Andriessen, Giacinto Scelsi, Caroline Shaw, and more, September 2021.

Music faculty members Sharan Leventhal, Lila Brown, Patrice JacksonTilghman, Randall Zigler, Eli Epstein, Margaret Phillips, and Jan Halloran perform in Chamber Series: Beethoven Reloaded, November 2021.

Theater students perform in the Conservatory’s production of the musical Head Over Heels, November 2021.

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Dance students perform in the Dance Division’s Fall Dance Concert: From the Ground Up, October 2021.


Violin faculty member Saul Bitran performs with Sally Pinkas in a String Masters Series recital, November 2021.

Boston Conservatory Orchestra performs a program featuring Missy Mazzoli’s These Worlds in Us at Saint Cecilia Parish, October 2021.

Boston Conservatory Chorale and Choir rehearse for their performance, The Dawn Is Not Distant—Choral Works Celebrating Night and Morning, October 2021.

Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble performs a program entitled Looking Back, including works by Berklee President Erica Muhl, October 2021.

Theater and music students perform in Boston Conservatory's production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, December 2021.

Contemporary Theater Ensemble Performance Lab students present the play Antigone or And Still She Must Rise Up, November 2021.

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NEW ALBUMS: RELEASING CREATIVITY DURING LOCKDOWN

Recent albums released by Christina Jones and Eleri Ward reflect how music is created—and how emerging artists are discovered—in these times. Current student Christina Jones (B.F.A. '22, musical theater) and alum Eleri Ward (B.F.A. '17, musical theater) released albums in 2021, both produced during the height of the pandemic. Jones’s album debut, You Were My Compass, a collaboration with composer and pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, is about love lost and refound. Ward’s A Perfect Little Death reimagines songs by Stephen Sondheim, inspired by indie-folk singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Here, Jones and Ward walk us through the creative and emotive process of interpreting songs and discuss the challenges and rewards of recording during lockdown. For both Jones and Ward, social media afforded a level of exposure that helped to set the projects in motion: it was where Jones was discovered by Ishizaka and where Ward built an audience that encouraged her to keep recording the arrangements that would make up her album.

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CHRISTINA JONES YOU WERE MY COMPASS HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH KIMIKO ISHIZAKA COME TO BE? During quarantine, Kimiko and her husband, Robert Douglass, the producer of the album, saw my segment from the viral “What the World Needs Now” piece that Shelbie Rassler (B.M. '20, composition) orchestrated, and they immediately knew they wanted me to be the voice for their album. They messaged me on both Facebook and Instagram, and to be honest, at first I thought it was a scam. But I researched Kimiko and discovered how incredible a musician she is, and I had to say yes. WHAT WERE THE PROS AND CONS OF VIRTUAL COLLABORATION? It was tough, to say the least; everything was done online, and it was hard bouncing ideas off of each other. But we made it work, and I can say that it definitely served as a learning experience for me as far as writing lyrics and bringing my own flair to art that isn’t mine goes. I was very fortunate in the process because the producer provided me with recording equipment so that I could easily send them stems of ideas I had. Overall, it was a very tough, very tedious, very interesting project.


WALK US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FOR INTERPRETING SUCH DEEPLY EMOTIONAL SONGS. DID YOUR THEATER TRAINING COME INTO PLAY? It was definitely strange trying to relate 21 years of my existence to a 21-year love story. But I discovered that finding semblances of what Kimiko went through in my own life definitely helped. As an actress, I had to put myself in Kimiko’s shoes and really dig deep into what I’ve experienced and apply it to what she experienced. Obviously, I’ve never been in a relationship that long before, but I can somewhat relate to the loss and the love that comes with a relationship and try to tell the story from there. As a musician, it was more about playing with how the music moved me. That was the easier part, because singing comes to me more easily. I hope people can see that in my performance. CHRISTINA JONES

ELERI WARD A PERFECT LITTLE DEATH HOW DID THIS PROJECT EVOLVE INTO A FULLFLEDGED ALBUM? It really was just sporadic YouTube videos that I had posted over the course of two years for my own personal enjoyment, but then TikTok happened. Once I started posting my covers on that platform, it made me aware of an audience I never knew I had—an audience that continually requested that I put these arrangements out on streaming platforms, so that’s what I did. I just curated the arrangements I had already done, solidified the ones I had been wanting to do, and then took to my closet to record all of them over the course of a month. Then I reached out to theatrical news outlets to try to get a feature, and BroadwayWorld said yes. Once that article ran, I got an email from Ghostlight Records, and the rest is history. It’s this wild little story that will forever have me yelling from the rooftops: “Share your work! Put yourself out there!” You truly have no idea who is watching and what could change your life. HOW DID THE PANDEMIC FACTOR INTO THE CREATION OF THIS ALBUM?

Listen to You Were My Compass on Spotify and watch videos from the album on YouTube.

I think, more than anything, the pandemic gave me the time to create and record freely. I never would have guessed I’d finish recording 13 tracks in one month, and I wouldn’t think that to be a reasonable timeline under normal circumstances. I knew what I wanted these songs to sound like, and while certain musical choices were made in the moment of recording, I think that, regardless of the environment, the ideas were always going to come as they did. bostonconservatory.berklee.edu | 7


WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS FOR SELECTING, ARRANGING, AND PERFORMING THESE SONGS?

ELERI WARD

When it comes to selecting the songs, I go with what I know, love, and connect with in the moment. When it comes to my process for arranging, it always feels like some sort of magic. I’m not entirely sure how I arrive at my harmonic choices I end up with on guitar, but I figure out what key I’m in, whether it be the original or another that better suits me, and I just let my ear take me on a ride. Everything is incredibly organic when it comes to these arrangements, so I simply know it’s right when it happens. All I know is I love building the arc of any song I’m working on. I love harmonies, I love musical tension, I love layering. However I can implement those aspects into one of my arrangements in a way that embodies and emphasizes the energy and feeling I personally get from the song itself is what I’m after. Taking “Johanna (Reprise)” and understanding that at its core, it’s a love song (How can I push that further?), I created a seamless song structure and made the vocal parts weave in and out in a fluid way so as to all get to the same point: we are all yearning for something that we don’t have now. I also love ending songs musically unresolved, which, if you take a listen to a lot of these, you’ll find, since many of these songs don't truly have resolutions lyrically or contextually.

WHEN YOU WERE A STUDENT AT THE CONSERVATORY, DID YOU EVER IMAGINE THAT YOU WOULD RELEASE AN ALBUM OF THIS KIND? I never saw any of this coming. I’ve been a Sufjan Stevens fan since I was first introduced to him in 2011, and when Carrie & Lowell came out in 2015, it certainly changed me in a profound way. While at BoCo, I always heard the phrase ”make your own work,“ but I never quite understood how that pertained to me. I’m not a playwright, a director, or a theatrical composer, so I didn’t see how there was anything for me to create on my own within a theatrical environment. I was focused on being the best musical theater performer I could be while working on my songwriting craft. I just never saw how those two worlds would ever come together, but somehow (by accident, it seems), I’ve found the bridge between the two. Keep honing your craft(s), and life will show you how and where they are meant to shine. Listen to A Perfect Little Death on Spotify and watch videos from the album on YouTube.

Something else I really enjoy doing is taking inspiration from Sondheim’s original orchestral arrangements and using my voice to become the orchestra. For example, in “Being Alive,” the strings in the original version have a whole life of their own underneath the vocal melody. It’s a part of the song that creates such movement for me, and I love it so much. I had to have those musical lines in my arrangement, so I think I ultimately ended up with a total of six vocal layers playing that part.

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By Cathy Young

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Higher education is in the midst of a reckoning on many fronts, with perhaps the central issue being the “value proposition” of post-secondary education itself. Rising tuition costs and crippling student debt have brought to the forefront crucial questions about the value and purpose of higher education, most specifically how—and whether—the significant financial investment in a postsecondary education truly prepares students for successful, meaningful, and productive careers and lives. As research about the future of work has made clear, this generation of students (and those to follow) will likely change jobs and careers many times over the course of their professional lives. Very few students in this generation will be able to follow the trajectory that was once an implicit promise of a college education: prepare for a specific career during your post-secondary education, enter that career with the credential of your undergraduate degree, and then move up the ladder in that career until you retire. It is clear that the careers of this generation will be defined by constant and large-scale change, and in order to thrive, young people will need their educational experience to equip them in new ways for the evolving challenges and opportunities they will face. The key question for higher education, then, is: How do we best prepare our graduates for this new landscape?

THE ART OF NAVIGATING CHANGE The response to this question often falls into two broad categories. The first is that higher education should provide students with specific career skills, expertise, and experiences so they can move seamlessly from their education to their career of choice. Many students and their parents are seeking this kind of pragmatic, careerfocused education, as indicated by the great numbers of students studying, for example, computer programming or nursing or elementary education. But this approach is challenged by the growing awareness that even fields that seem like “sure bets” can quickly be disrupted and undergo rapid and large-scale change, as COVID-19 has certainly demonstrated.

The second approach is to prepare our students with essential skills that are applicable and valuable across many disciplines and go “deeper” than content expertise or mastery. This is what a traditional liberal arts education accomplishes so well. Although a student who chooses to major in history or psychology may or may not draw on the specific academic knowledge of that field during their career, it is understood that they will be equipped for success because of the many transferable skills that a liberal arts education imparts, such as critical thinking, analytical skills, written and verbal communication skills, and problem solving. In the past, conservatory education was usually considered to be a great example of the first category: a highly skillsfocused education aimed at preparing students for a narrowly defined career path—a musician with a symphony orchestra, a stage actor, a concert dancer with an established company, and so on. At Boston Conservatory at Berklee, we are challenging this assumption by radically redefining the vision of what a conservatory education can be, with one primary goal in mind: to help our students cultivate key future-proof skills that equip them to not only survive but thrive in the fast-changing career landscape they will navigate.

FUTURE-PROOF SKILLS To accomplish this, Boston Conservatory has developed a unique educational approach called the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (BCB) Method. The BCB Method, which is a structure both for curriculum and for pedagogy, is built around four modalities that create a transformational educational and artistic journey for our students: immersion, deconstruction, integration, and identity. The BCB Method delivers the best outcomes of both a broad liberal arts education and a skills-focused conservatory education, while equipping our students with the future-proof skills that will be essential to navigating their futures.

Photo by Kelly Davidson/Dave Green

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WHAT ARE THESE KEY FUTUREPROOF SKILLS? First is the skill—notice I do not say talent—of creativity, which is arguably the most valuable currency of the future. The BCB Method is designed to nurture and develop curiosity, imagination, innovation, and problem solving and to give students the tools, methodologies, and confidence to meaningfully question established norms and harness their own creativity. Second is the skill of learning—the ability to continually learn new information with both speed and depth; to interrogate new paradigms, value structures, and content areas; to integrate and synthesize information across disciplines; to collaborate with others whose expertise and knowledge differs from your own; and, most importantly, to embrace a mindset of continual growth and learning.

IMMERSION, DECONSTRUCTION, INTEGRATION, AND IDENTITY We teach these skills through the four modalities that make up the BCB Method—immersion, deconstruction, integration, and identity—and through curricular structures and pedagogical approaches built around these modalities. Additionally, as an arts education institution, Boston Conservatory is uniquely positioned to shape our curriculum around a deep intertwining of experiential and academic learning, which we believe best supports the BCB Method and the key future-proof skills we aim to impart. Here’s a look at how these four modalities shape our curriculum, pedagogy, and, most importantly, the learning outcomes of our students. Immersion is an intensive, focused, rigorous study of a particular subject area or discipline; it’s a hallmark of conservatory education and one of the reasons many students choose this type of education. Immersion exposes students to a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience while encouraging intellectual curiosity and passion. This is a requisite for developing advanced, high-level skills. For example, a Conservatory dance student will take approximately six hours per day of experiential studio dance classes.

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Deconstruction involves the questioning and contextualization of both received knowledge and foundational belief systems and structures. This opens students to new possibilities and approaches. Deconstruction is central to the development of analytical skills, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and innovation. Integration develops a sense of empowerment and agency in our students; it encourages them to make connections between areas of inquiry, to synthesize information across disciplines, and to develop an informed perspective supported by depth of knowledge and examination. Integration gives students the tools to embrace ambiguity and move away from the false comfort of binary thinking. It enables them to celebrate and engage with complexity, plurality, and all the possibilities that these engender. Identity engages students in asking: How do your experiences, your knowledge, your skills, and your values shape who you are as a person and the ways in which you aim to navigate, impact, and express yourself to the world? Who are you, and who do you aspire to become? How can you become the fullest version of yourself?

ACTUALIZING THE FUTURE OUR STUDENTS IMAGINE As the incredible global challenges of the last two years in particular have made abundantly clear, our world needs problem solvers who possess the creativity, empathetic imagination, and sense of purpose to change the world for the better. With the BCB Method, Boston Conservatory at Berklee aims to graduate students who possess a highly developed and honed skill set in the artistic discipline of their choice, the critical-thinking, analysis, communication, and problem-solving capabilities that are the hallmarks of excellent liberal arts education, and the key future-proof skills of creativity and fearless learning. What is the value proposition of higher education? The value proposition of Boston Conservatory at Berklee is that our graduates will have the appetite to embrace change and respond to an evolving career landscape with flexibility, creativity, fortitude, and resilience—to create the lives they aspire to live and actualize the future they imagine.


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Academic Innovation in Action

INAUGURAL FACULTY STRATEGIC INNOVATION GRANTS SPUR CURRICULAR REINVENTION

Boston Conservatory at Berklee is reinventing the conservatory experience with its five-year Strategic Direction, set in motion in 2020. A critical piece of this—the Academic Innovation Plan—goes directly to the heart of conservatory education: its curriculum. The Faculty Strategic Innovation Grant program, launched in spring 2021, is facilitating groundbreaking curricular redesign that places Boston Conservatory students at the forefront of change in their fields. This initiative, made possible through generous donor support and developed by Conservatory Academic Affairs leadership to advance academic innovation, provides funds to faculty members in the Dance, Music, and Theater divisions who have proposed forward-thinking curricular changes that advance the school’s key strategic goals. Not only do these strides enhance students’ academic experience, they are raising the bar for progress within the dance, music, and theater industries themselves. Learn more about these transformational projects from the faculty teams who have developed them. 14 | STAGES


Dance Division DECENTERING BALLET: MOVING THE ART FORM INTO THE 21ST CENTURY Russell Clarke and Marissa Parmenter Faculty members Russell Clarke and Marissa Parmenter have taken on the challenge of bringing ballet into the 21st century, examining and dismantling its exclusionary structures. This includes the implementation of a variety of curriculum changes, such as inclusive language and standards with regard to gender and racial identity, providing space for all dancers to develop their technique.

Decolonizing ballet’s patriarchal, Eurocentric, heteronormative structures is a continuation of my master’s work and the research that I used to author the Conservatory course Decolonizing Ballet. This grant provided the funding to take this research and further develop it into practical curriculum changes and pedagogical guidance that dismantle the traditional structures that have marginalized many identities in ballet training. It is very exciting to see this research manifested in action steps to provide inclusive ballet education at an exceptional level. Our students are intelligent, moving bodies that have a deep desire to see these changes take place in our industry and be a part of an inclusive learning environment. Through specific language choices, schedule changes, course content, and continued faculty development, students will now experience ballet training without the rigid gender binary and racial marginalization. Students will be able to experience how ballet can serve them artistically and individually, rather than how they serve ballet and its traditionally limited ideals. —Marissa Parmenter

DANCE AND TECHNOLOGY: CURRICULUM INNOVATION AND DESIGN Alissa Cardone, Jazelynn Goudy, and Lori Landay As digital technology has become central to both live performance and virtually all entertainment platforms, faculty members Alissa Cardone, Jazelynn Goudy, and Lori Landay are focused on preparing dancers and choreographers to lead the future of the field through technology. Their mission? To educate students on how to choreograph as well as capture and integrate movement and physical storytelling into a variety of entertainment and digitally driven industries, from gaming and virtual and augmented reality to music videos, film, live concerts, contemporary concert dance, and immersive installations. The team developed a plan for a new program they call Performance Technologies, or PTECH, which they imagine will leverage the possibilities of the wider Berklee institution.

The grant gave us the opportunity to think big . . . We are excited about equipping dancers with robust technospecific skills so they can put their genius to work in any of these industries and be closer to the top of the chain when it comes to control over and compensation for movement and choreographic ideas. There will be more wires, cameras, sensors, screens, and other toys in a dancer’s day. And there will also be more active collaboration, problem solving, and exposure to interdisciplinary work. —Alissa Cardone, Jazelynn Goudy, and Lori Landay

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Music Division REDEFINING THE CANON: ESTABLISHING A FRAMEWORK FOR CHALLENGING NORMS

Jim Dalton, Rebecca Marchand, John Murphree, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, and Joel Schwindt Diversity and inclusivity is the driving force behind the Music Division’s effort to overhaul its Core Studies curriculum, the basis for all academic work in the division. That’s why faculty members Jim Dalton, Rebecca Marchand, John Murphree, Mischa SalkindPearl, and Joel Schwindt developed a restructuring of Boston Conservatory’s required music history and theory courses that offers a new approach to understanding context and materials. With a framework designed by Dean of Music Michael Shinn, the new curriculum will emphasize critical examination of canon formation, inclusion of diverse and global voices, and exploration of issues of tokenism and cultural appropriation, not only in the classroom but also in applied lessons and performances.

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What has been most exciting about this project is the opportunity it has afforded for us to broaden the students’ understanding of the forces that have shaped popular tastes and conceptions of classical music in a way that will give them the ability to engage their repertoire in a more meaningful way. Therefore, rather than simply passing along the historical narrative that has been handed down for generations on the so-called ‘canon’ of great composers and masterworks—a notion largely based on the judgments and agendas of cultural and nationalist partisans from the 19th and 20th centuries—we challenge the students to consider the impact of misogyny, white supremacy, and classism in both the canon’s historical formation and modern perpetuation in the concert hall. It is our hope that this approach will lead the students not only to a clearer understanding of the history itself but also to more effective engagement of this musical tradition today and a better path to shape the profession for generations to come. —Jim Dalton, Rebecca Marchand, John Murphree, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, and Joel Schwindt


Theater Division THE ACTOR’S TOOLKIT: AN INNOVATIVE EXPERIENCE

Angela Jepsen, C. Robin Marcotte, and Alli Ross The Actor’s Toolkit is a new, required course for all first-year students, designed to help them develop the tools needed to thrive at the Conservatory and in the theater industry. It introduces concepts such as creative discipline, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness, nutrition, anti-racist theater practices, stage intimacy practices, conflict resolution, and diversity and inclusion training. Faculty members Angela Jepsen, C. Robin Marcotte, and Alli Ross developed innovative and uniquely artistic approaches to these topics.

We asked the question: What should actors have in their toolkit in order to be changemakers here at Boston Conservatory and in the field of theater now? How can theater artists develop self-care and wellness practices from the start? How does a theater artist develop an anti-racist practice that they bring to the classroom, the field, and the industry? How do we practice empathy to reach our fullest potential as embodied storytellers? We hope this course provides students with these foundational practices that will foster deeper dialogue and inquiry into the plays they are reading, the songs they are singing, and the dances they embody long into the future. —Alli Ross With the changes to the course, my hope is that students see their individuality as an asset to the theater. Additionally, we built in the opportunity to embrace self-care as a necessity for artists. A healthy body and mind will give them incredible access to make powerful art. —C. Robin Marcotte It is vital for an institution to constantly be evaluating its practices and teachings in order to find what best serves our students. —Angie Jepson

THE BCB METHOD: SEQUENCING THE B.F.A. ACTING CURRICULUM Douglas Lockwood, Andrea Southwick, Dennis Trainor, and Christopher Webb Douglas Lockwood, Andrea Southwick, Dennis Trainor, and Christopher Webb reexamined more than a dozen courses taught by 10 different faculty members, representing each year of study in the acting curriculum, to develop a consistent and meaningful progression of shared knowledge, skills, and repertoire for musical theater students over their four-year trajectory. They also aligned the acting curriculum to the BCB Method’s four modalities—immersion, deconstruction, integration, and identity. Continuing the Theater Division’s work in decolonizing the curriculum, craft, and culture, the faculty prioritized the inclusion of acting methodologies and scripts by BIPOC, female-identifying, and gender nonbinary theater makers and teachers.

[These changes] allow each individual student to discover what turns the lightbulbs on for them. It gives them a clear way to connect the dots between all aspects of their training. And they will engage with material and methods created by people they feel can represent them, and at the same time be exposed to people and experiences that are very different from their own. —Andrea Southwick It was exciting to revisit the whole acting sequence and come up with recommendations on what might stay, what might go, and what we might need to include to reflect a more inclusive and expansive theatrical landscape that our students are hungry to explore. —Douglas Lockwood bostonconservatory.berklee.edu | 17


By Maya Giles

“Are you an artist, engineer, or manager?” I looked at the graduate student who asked me this and was puzzled. It was my junior year, and I was studying abroad in Valencia, Spain. I was asked to contribute to another student’s EP and was one of the first to arrive for the production meeting when I was confronted with this question. When I enrolled in my first semester at the Conservatory, I saw myself as a violinist: Maya Giles, the classical violinist studying violin performance at Boston Conservatory. I was confident that the curriculum would give me an excellent foundation in European classical music studies while allowing me to explore my other musical interests

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at Berklee. I have always felt caught between my love of Euro-classical music and Black American contemporary music. Here was a school that allowed me to nurture and grow these loves together. I completely immersed myself in my studies and received a thorough education in classical music while improving as a violinist. When I finished my core classes, I was able to perform an accurate interpretation of any Euroclassical composer based on a theoretical and historical understanding of their music, life, and time period. However, as confident as I was about retaining and applying this knowledge, I began to ask myself, “Who is the person behind this performance? What does she sound like without the composer? What does Maya sound


like?” It was with these questions that I began my junior year. This was the beginning of my transformation. For my junior recital, I made sure to program at least one composer of African descent, and I vowed to continue that tradition for the remainder of my career. In learning William Grant Still’s Suite for Violin, I felt for the first time that there was a space for me here. I was contributing to a lineage of other Euro-classical musicians of African descent, and, despite what happened to us, we belonged there, too. Yet where was Maya?

question made me reflect on my artistry in a way I had never thought to do before. I answered, “Artist”—and, for the first time, I believed it. Not a week later, the pandemic happened and I was forced into a time of reflection. The graduate student’s question didn’t just ask about my professional goal; it was a question about who I was. Who am I, and what do I have to give to this world? Naturally, I answered, “I am Maya.” I affirmed this again. Simplified it. “I am Maya. I am. Maya.” Then I reflected it: “Ayam. Maya. AYAM MAYA.”

Just a few days before my recital, I was invited to take My senior year, I dived into activism training and worked part in a workshop with Silkroad artists Kinan Azmeh and as a Change Scholar with Berklee’s Center for Diversity, Cristina Pato. It was life changing. They shared with us their Equity, and Inclusion, created my first film for my senior deep connection with their cultural and ancestral roots— recital, and delivered the commencement speech for my how it informs their practices, performances, and work— graduating class. Suddenly, activism and writing reentered and invited us to explore my life, along with a yearning to our own roots through free begin creating my own music. improvisation. This was my Maya Giles the violinist wasn’t the THE EXPECTATION OF WHAT A first time improvising in only thing I was anymore. CLASSICAL MUSICIAN “SHOULD BE” this way, and though it was BEGAN TO CRUMBLE IN MY MIND. nerve-wracking, I felt lifted As I began to develop my brand from the boundaries and that summer after graduation, I I NEVER MET THAT EXPECTATION— restraints of musical genre. realized that AYAM MAYA means AND STATISTICALLY, I WAS NEVER Here, I was encouraged to that I am all these personalities SUPPOSED TO. YET HERE I WAS. FROM play directly what was in my in one. AYAM: I am a writer, poet, THE RUBBLE, I BEGAN TO REBUILD MY soul and, with it, connect activist, violinist, DJ/electronic OWN ARTISTIC IDENTITY. with the musician next to performer, and producer, with a me. I heard what Maya common foundation in classical sounded like for the first music. Maya is the center point time in a long time, and it awakened me. It opened my for all these. So, two names became four: Maya Giles, the eyes inward to who I am as an artist and a human being. I artist-scholar; Maya Simone, the poet; Maya X, the activist; was reminded of my longtime existence in between two and Maestra Chameleon, an ode to both DJing and worlds of music, and for once I began to embrace it. The classical music. Each identity has its own energy, culture, expectation of what a classical musician “should be” began and musical world it lives in. They all exist in a space that to crumble in my mind. I never met that expectation—and goes beyond the disciplines they hail from, giving their statistically, I was never supposed to. Yet here I was. From outputs a transdisciplinary nature, transcending their the rubble, I began to rebuild my own artistic identity. original boundaries. Years ago, I learned from one of my favorite shows that it is important to draw wisdom from many different places. If we take it from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. I knew that studying abroad would give me this different perspective, and I was excited to start 2020 at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. I was thrown into a new academic environment of contemporary music and was further introduced to music production, DJing, flamenco, Middle Eastern music, and jazz. It demanded a rewiring and relearning of how I understood music. Although I struggled, I never felt more complete or stronger as a musician. I had been studying abroad for about two months when I was asked, “Are you an artist, engineer, or manager?” This

My first affirmation of AYAM was through my presentation of original poetry for the Hemenway Strings’ performance of Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals at the Conservatory this past September. It was a celebration that came full circle. I never felt more at ease in a performance, and I was sharing my art in the same place that shaped me. My time at Boston Conservatory provided me with the space to explore my identity and grow beyond the boundaries of what a classical musician is and can be. In discovering this, I found Maya again. Maya Giles graduated from Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2021 with a B.M. in Violin Performance. Learn more about Maya and her AYAM artist project.


BEYOND WALLS: CREATING CROSS-DISCIPLINARY ART IN PUBLIC SPACE BOSTON CONSERVATORY STUDENTS BREAK THROUGH THE CONFINES OF THE TRADITIONAL PERFORMANCE VENUE IN AN OUTDOOR PUBLIC-SPACE PERFORMANCE.

MARIA FINKELMEIER

For many artists, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the traditional concept of performance. For Kunkemueller Artistin-Residence Maria Finkelmeier, it was a timely opportunity to introduce a new generation of artists to an art form about which she was already passionate: performance in public spaces. Finkelmeier is the founder of MF Dynamics, an experimental studio that creates large-scale, multimedia performative works in non-traditional venues. In January 2021, during the height of the pandemic, Finkelmeier made headlines with a multimedia public art project, Hatched: Breaking Through the Silence, presented at the Hatch Memorial Shell, a beloved amphitheater in the heart of Boston. In May of 2021, Finkelmeier brought this expertise to Boston Conservatory for a groundbreaking three-week course called Beyond Walls, designed to provide students with the tools needed to successfully create and execute a performance in a public space. The key element of the course was experiential learning; although Finklemeier served as a mentor, she left control of the creative vision and process entirely to the students.

“The students learned the same way I did as I have grown my career: through the practice of doing, the art of conversation, and the bravery of risk taking.” —Maria Finkelmeier 20 | STAGES


Video highlights from Rising.

CHALLENGING HIERARCHIES THROUGH PUBLIC PERFORMANCE The Beyond Walls course culminated in a public, sitespecific performance called Rising, which took place on May 28 in the Back Bay Fens. The performance marked a unique partnership with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, whose mission is to protect and restore the 1,100 acres of parkland called the Emerald Necklace, which includes the Back Bay Fens, neighboring the Conservatory’s campus. Drawing inspiration from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s restoration of the Muddy River, the performance project used live music, dance, and poetry to explore the concepts of growth and restoration, as well as the collective need for renewal in a society yearning to rise from the pandemic.

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“There are so many benefits to this kind of a program now, in the 21st century, because public art is a way to flatten the hierarchies about who gets to go into a theater and who feels comfortable doing that,” says Peter DiMuro, a guest faculty member for Beyond Walls. DiMuro is the founder of Public Displays of Motion and executive director of The Dance Complex.

“We learn from working in the public sphere about whose voice gets to speak, whose songs, whose stories, whose histories are highlighted. It’s very important for us to get beyond the sphere of the concert hall.” —Peter DiMuro, guest faculty member

CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION Rising included 42 Conservatory student performers, led by the multidisciplinary directorial team of Sam Feldman (B.F.A. '23, contemporary theater), Tess Stevens (B.F.A. '23, contemporary dance), AnnaLotte Smith (M.M. '22, piano), Rachel Kempenaar (B.F.A. '24, contemporary dance), and Jacob Windeler (B.F.A. '24, contemporary dance). Smith, who composed the music for Rising, was thrilled to be part of a project that explored the intersections of multiple art forms, something not often possible in traditional conservatory programs.

“The performance was built by giving every performer an equal voice. That meant each component, from music to instrumentation, choreography, text, and staging, concurrently grew from the onset of the production through student collaboration.” —AnnaLotte Smith, piano student 22 | STAGES


Not only did this project provoke thinking beyond the confines of traditional performance, it gave Conservatory students an opportunity to transcend the boundaries of their art forms and collaborate across the Dance, Music, and Theater divisions. “Interdisciplinary, cross-divisional artistic work is one of the components of the Cross-Conservatory Curriculum embedded in the Conservatory's Academic Innovation Plan,” says Andy Vores, Boston Conservatory’s vice president for Academic Affairs/chief academic officer. “We plan to build upon the huge success of Beyond Walls, using it as a pilot to guide us in the integration of collaborative work as a central part of the curriculum.” Pete Pierantozzi (B.F.A. '23, contemporary dance), one of the project’s dancers, explains how interdisciplinary performance of this kind opens new possibilities for

creative discovery. “One of my biggest takeaways from this program was that art is not discipline-exclusive,” he says. “A performance doesn’t have to be just dance, or theater, or music. When all of those things come together, you can create something that’s much more special and powerful than if you were to stay in your own little box.” This, ultimately, was the intention of Beyond Walls: to explore new forms of artistic expression by thinking beyond the traditional definitions of performance space and artistic discipline—and, as Finkelmeier notes, to empower every performer involved to also be a creator. “I truly hope each student steps into their career with new confidence in their story and their ability to create new and authentic work,” she says.

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SHAPING THE FUTURE WITH TECHNOLOGY

From new courses on Berklee Online to a paperless initiative, Boston Conservatory is using technology to create the future of the performing arts. NEW BERKLEE ONLINE COURSES GIVE BOSTON CONSERVATORY A GLOBAL PLATFORM With a state-of-the-art learning platform reaching students in more than 140 countries, Berklee Online is a pioneer in online learning recognized worldwide as the premier destination for online music education. Beginning in January 2022, students around the world can experience Boston Conservatory’s signature dance, music, and theater training with three undergraduate-level courses offered through Berklee Online. Introduction to Iconic Dance and Urban Movement, taught by dance faculty member Ruka Hatua-Saar White, engages students in the analysis of iconic dance trends in American culture over time—from the hand jive to the moonwalk and beyond—through the critical lenses of class, race, sex, and gender. Time and Rhythm 1, taught by music faculty member Matt Sharrock, is designed for students looking to enhance their rhythmic sense through analysis of rhythmic structure and an examination of rhythmic notation. In Script Analysis for Theater, taught by theater faculty members David Valdes and Elizabeth Wong, students explore the past, present, and future of theater making by examining key theater traditions and texts from around the world.

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The launch of these three online courses, with no prior experience required for enrollment, marks the first time that the Conservatory’s undergraduate-level courses are available to the general public. Berklee Online's award-winning learning platform will now give students all over the world the opportunity to study with Boston Conservatory’s renowned dance, music, and theater faculty from anywhere.. Learn more about Boston Conservatory’s Berklee Online courses.

FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS GAIN CRITICAL TECH SKILLS WITH NEW INTERDISCIPLINARY COURSE Boston Conservatory at Berklee is launching a new interdisciplinary course for spring 2022, Introduction to iPad Media Technology, focused on using technology as a vital part of the performing artist’s toolkit. In this required course for first-year undergraduates, students will learn how to record and edit video and audio so that they can produce quality content and market themselves through digital platforms. As part of the course, all firstyear undergraduate students will receive an iPad, as well as apps required for the course, completely free of charge. In a “studio lab” setting, students will experiment with emerging technology and come away with a strong foundation in video and audio recording, editing, and production skills critical to launching careers in the performing arts and beyond.


BoCo GREEN

BOSTON CONSERVATORY GOES GREEN

In fall 2021, Boston Conservatory launched BoCo Green, an initiative to help combat climate change by reducing waste and adopting more sustainable practices across our institution. A key part of this effort was fully converting to digital performance posters and performance booklets in lieu of printed materials, which has already significantly reduced the school’s carbon footprint during the fall semester alone. Eliminating paper program handouts is anticipated to save more than 50,000 sheets (or 500 pounds) of standard copy paper each performance season, reducing water waste by 5,350 gallons and eliminating nearly 4,500 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning to digital performance posters, flyers, and postcards will save an additional 19,500 sheets (or 565 pounds) of both standard copy and specialized cardstock paper, preserving 14,307 gallons of water and

eliminating 7,560 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. Patrons have enthusiastically embraced this change throughout the fall semester. By scanning a QR code on their phones upon entry, audience members access the performance program as well as a snapshot calculation of the sheets of paper, gallons of water, and greenhouse gas emissions saved by viewing the program digitally. This ongoing initiative extends well beyond performancerelated materials. From academics to Admissions to Institutional Advancement, the Conservatory community is committed to adopting more eco-friendly and sustainable practices—including this magazine, which transitioned to a fully digital publication beginning in the 2020–2021 academic year. Learn more about the BoCo Green initiative.

We're grateful to our community of donors who help make the programs and accomplishments featured in STAGES possible. Please consider making a year-end gift to ensure that Boston Conservatory at Berklee students, faculty, and staff have the resources they need to continue this growth, innovation, and collaboration for years to come.

Make your gift today at bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/give or by calling +1 617-747-2127. Please make your gift by December 31 to receive a charitable deduction for the 2021 tax year.


FORWARD MOMENTUM

A look at the new programs, partnerships, and people transforming the academic experience.

Dance alum Ebony Williams performs in Berklee's 2017 Beyoncé Ensemble concert. Photo by Kelly Davidson.

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First-Ever Three-Year Commercial Dance B.F.A. Blazes a Trail

on tuition and giving them a springboard to launch their careers in the entertainment industry after graduation.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee has launched a groundbreaking three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance: Commercial Dance degree that prepares dancers and aspiring choreographers for successful careers in entertainment industries such as film, television, theater, concert tours, live music performances, theme parks, and more. The new program, which will welcome its first class in fall 2022, is the first and only commercial dance–focused B.F.A. degree offered at the conservatory level that can be completed in just three years, saving students money

The program creates unmatched opportunities for dancers to collaborate with tomorrow’s music industry leaders through Boston Conservatory’s 2016 merger with Berklee, a multifaceted performing arts institution that includes leading contemporary music schools Berklee College of Music and Berklee Online. Learn more about the Conservatory's new commercial dance program.


Dance Students Jumpstart Their Careers with Professional Transition Program The Dance Division has created flexible pathways to career success through a transformational program that gives senior dancers an early start on their careers while they complete their studies. The Professional Transition program, launched in 2019, provides an opportunity for fourth-year students in good academic standing to take on professional contracts for either one semester or their full senior year while graduating on time. Since the start of the program, several students have landed coveted positions with internationally renowned companies:

• Emma Branson (B.F.A. '22) is completing her senior year as a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. • Emmitt Cawley (B.F.A. '20) joined Nederlands Dans Theater, based in The Hague, Netherlands, as a member of their NDT II company, where he completed his senior year. • Diana Cedeño (B.F.A. '21) joined Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and completed her senior year as a member of the company. • Francesca Crupi (B.F.A. '20) completed her final senior semester as a member of Disney Orlando. • Annika Kuo (B.F.A. '22) is completing her senior year as a member of BalletX. • Paul Liu (B.F.A. '20) completed his final senior semester as a member of Pilobolus. • Diána Worby (B.F.A. '21) completed her senior year as a member of Jacob Jonas The Company and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Learn more about the Dance Division.

Alum Emmitt Cawley completed his entire senior year as a member of the venerable dance company Nederlands Dans Theater, thanks to the Dance Division’s new Professional Transition program.

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New Music Division Partnerships Support Global Connections and Diversity in All Forms SILKROAD Since 2018, Boston Conservatory at Berklee has enjoyed an exclusive educational partnership with Silkroad, the Grammy Award–winning global arts organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma and led by acclaimed artistic director Rhiannon Giddens. Through courses and performance opportunities, Conservatory students from all divisions collaborate with and are mentored by Silkroad’s internationally renowned artists, who encourage students to develop and nurture their own creative identities, build community, and engage in cross-cultural exploration through a lens of social impact and cultural advocacy. A key feature of this partnership is the groundbreaking Silkroad Creativity Lab, a Boston Conservatory course designed as a lab experience that explores creativity, improvisation, and self-care. Students work directly with Silkroad artists such as clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, tabla maestro Sandeep Das, Celtic harpist Maeve Gilchrist, and violinist and composer Michi Wiancko, among many others. Engaging deeply with the concept of artistic citizenship, the lab examines musical colonialism and cultural appropriation, as well as how to meaningfully connect with various communities during the global pandemic.

Boston Conservatory string faculty member Lynn Chang and Conservatory students work with Boston String Academy students in 2017.

BOSTON STRING ACADEMY As part of Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s efforts to break down access barriers and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the performing arts, the Music Division has partnered with Boston String Academy, a local organization driven also by these values. Led by sister violinists and Boston Conservatory alums Marielisa Alvarez (G.P.D. '11, M.M. '09, violin) and Mariesther Alvarez (G.P.D. '11, M.M. '09, violin), Boston String Academy’s (BSA) mission is to provide top-quality string training to underserved communities in the Greater Boston area. The academy aims to eliminate obstacles to classical music training by subsidizing tuition costs, offering programs in accessible locations, and providing lessons and instrument rentals to all students. The partnership not only provides BSA students access to expanded mentorship and opportunities to learn from the Conservatory’s student musicians; it also gives Conservatory graduate students an opportunity to hone their teaching skills and grow their understanding of how to address the critical need for diversity and representation in classical music education.

Silkroad artist and world-renowned tabla master Sandeep Das gives Conservatory students a tabla lesson.

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Learn more about the Music Division's renowned programs.


AS AN EDUCATOR, ADMINISTRATOR, ACTOR, MUSICIAN, AND MUSIC DIRECTOR, YOU WEAR QUITE A FEW HATS. WHAT DRIVES YOUR MULTIDIMENSIONALITY? As a child, I used to balk at the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” because I’ve always had many interests and passions, and people always seemed to want me to choose just one. Just before I graduated from college, a teacher warned me not to become a “jack of all trades and master of none.” I think my career has been driven by my desire to demonstrate that you can be successful as a multi-hyphenate creative and that you can pursue all of your passions. WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT YOUR NEW ROLE AS ASSISTANT CHAIR OF THEATER?

New Assistant Chair of Theater Jermaine Hill on Embracing Multidimensionality Acclaimed artist and educator Jermaine Hill joined the Conservatory in fall 2021 as assistant chair of theater and is the first person to serve in this new role. An awardwinning music director, orchestrator, singer, arranger, and educator, Hill reflects on his multi-hyphenate career and what excites him about his new role.

I’m excited to work with our faculty, staff, and administrators as we embark on our bold and exciting mission to reimagine the Theater Division and the Conservatory as a transformative, culturally fluent, radically generous contemporary performing arts institution that prepares artists for traditional careers and those yet to be imagined. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE BOSTON CONSERVATORY COMMUNITY? Kind, generous, welcoming, passionate, committed to excellence, student-centered, innovative, and inspiring. Learn more about Jermaine Hill and the Theater Division.

TALK ABOUT YOUR PATH TO THEATER: WHAT WERE SOME OF THE PIVOTAL MOMENTS AND INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE ALONG THIS JOURNEY? My passion for music started with piano lessons when I was five. When I got to high school, my choir/drama teacher and I discovered that I had a singing voice, as well. I got cast in my first musical freshman year, and I was bitten by the proverbial acting bug. In college, I discovered that I was also interested in conducting, music directing, arranging, and teaching. I was really lucky in those early years to have teachers who believed in me, supported me, and gave me the tools to grow.

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In the Limelight

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1. Recent graduate Maya Giles (B.M. '21, violin) was the special guest poet in the performance Hemenway Strings: Remembrance and Hope, directed by Lynn Chang and featuring Dean of Music Michael Shinn and Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano Jessica Chow Shinn, September 2021. 2. Silkroad artist Michi Wiancko works with students as part of the Care and Creativity Retreat, focused on community building, cultural learning, and artistic practice, designed by Wiancko and co-led by faculty member Judith Eissenberg, October 2021.

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3. Musical theater alum Andrew Durand (B.F.A. '08), who originated the role of Musidorus in the Broadway production of Head Over Heels, attended the Conservatory’s performance of the musical. Durand is pictured with student Luke Sabracos (B.F.A. '23), who played Musidorus in the Conservatory’s production, November 2021. 4. Voice student Blake Hopkins (B.M. '22) performed for Harry Connick Jr. at a recent master class—more than a decade after performing for the icon at the White House. Connick, who has written and performed in several Broadway productions, also provided a master class for the Conservatory’s senior musical theater class, October 2021.


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5. Musical theater alum Riley Brack (B.F.A. '13) stopped by campus to speak with students about stress management, vocal care, and pursuing a nontypical career in the arts, October 2021. 6. Kunkemueller Artist-in-Residence Maria Finkelmeier talks with student performers for Rising, an outdoor multidisciplinary performance in the Back Bay Fens featuring Conservatory dance, music, and theater students, May 2021.

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7. Musical theater alum Andrew Norlen (B.F.A. '16) dropped by campus to teach Michelle Chassé’s musical theater dance class and discuss his book When the Lights Are Bright Again, which documents the theater community’s personal stories amid the industry’s shutdown, November 2021. 8. Boston Conservatory ensemble BoCoCelli recorded works by Native American and Haitian American composers at Berklee NYC's state-of-the-art recording studio, Power Station, December 2021.

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NOTEWORTHY

Because the previous issue of STAGES did not include community highlights, highlights from 2020 and 2021 are included here.

CURRENT STUDENTS

FACULTY/STAFF

Emma Branson (B.F.A. '22, contemporary dance) joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet and is completing her senior year with the company through the Dance Division’s Professional Transition program. Annika Kuo (B.F.A. '22, contemporary dance) joined BalletX and is completing her senior year with the company through the Dance Division’s Professional Transition program.

Eric Cornell (theater) won a Tony Award as coproducer of the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma, September 2020.

C. Robin Marcotte (theater) was awarded a Diploma of Vermeil Medal from the Academic Society of ArtsSciences-Lettres in Paris, France, October 2020.

Pascale Florestal (theater) received an NYC Outward Bound Schools 2020 Greg Farrell Award for her noted accomplishments and leadership in the arts, December 2020.

MUSIC Winona Martin (M.M. '22, opera) won the Arizona district of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, November 2021.

Dan Shore (music) was featured in the Washington Post as one of the top 21 innovative composers and performers to watch in 2021, January 2021.

Igor Golyak’s (theater) company, Arlekin Players Theatre, received a New York Times Critic's Pick for a virtual performance of their production chekhovOS /an experimental game/, June 2021.

Tina Tallon (music) was ​​awarded a Rome Prize in Musical Composition from the American Academy in Rome for her interactive electroacoustic chamber opera Shrill, written for Boston-based company and longtime Conservatory ensemble-in-residence Guerilla Opera, April 2021.

Winona Martin

Mason Bynes (staff), Berklee career services advisor and M.M. '21 composition alum, premiered her piece “For Rosa,” which was performed by the Westerlies at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum in observance of Rosa Parks Day in Alabama, December 2021.

DANCE

Derick K. Grant (theater) was featured on a new tap dance stamp design issued by the U.S. Postal Service, January 2021.

Derick K. Grant

Saul Bitran (music) received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album for The Juliet Letters, by soprano Elena Rivera and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, with whom Bitran is first violinist, October 2021.

Tina Tallon

chekhovOS /an experimental game

THEATER Christina Jones (B.F.A. '22, musical theater) recorded her debut album, You Were My Compass, in collaboration with composer and pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, January 2021. Nina Osso (B.F.A. '24, musical theater) was named a Top 10 Finalist in Playbill’s 2021 Search for a Star contest, August 2021.

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ALUMNI 1990s

2010s

Susan Goforth (B.F.A. '91, musical theater) won the New York Cinematography Award for Best Song for "Tomorrow's Today," the theme song for the film Tomorrow's Today, June 2021.

Kristhyan Benitez (G.P.D. '10, A.D. '15, piano) won the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Music Album for his album Latin American Classics, November 2021.

John Cardoza (B.F.A. '16, musical theater) was an ensemble member of Jagged Little Pill, which won two Tony Awards, September 2021. Eric Ferring (M.M. '16, opera) is performing the roles of Pong in Turandot, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Royal Herald in Don Carlos, and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera, 2021–2022 season.

Kristhyan Benitez

Brea Bee Courtesy of ABC

Brea Bee (B.F.A. '97, musical theater) was featured in the eighth season of The Goldbergs, November 2020.

Jonathon Heyward (B.M. '14, cello), chief conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, made his London Symphony Orchestra debut, September 2020.

Kylie Jefferson (B.F.A. '16, contemporary dance) made her on-screen debut in Tiny Pretty Things, November 2020.

Paul HeeSang Miller (B.F.A. '10) was cast in the ensemble of Aladdin on Broadway, August 2021.

2000s

Shoba Narayan (B.F.A. '12) was cast as Jasmine in Aladdin on Broadway, August 2021. She also performed ”Here Comes the Change“ with the Broadway Sinfonietta in honor of the historic election of Kamala Harris as the first Black and South Asian woman vice president of the United States, January 2021.

Callie Chapman's (B.F.A. '02, contemporary dance) work was showcased in the public video installation ”The Conversation“ at Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachusetts. She was one of five artists selected to launch the series, August 2021. Ebony Williams (B.F.A. '05, contemporary dance) was an ensemble member of Jagged Little Pill, which won two Tony Awards, and also choreographed Doja Cat’s performance at the VMAs, September 2021.

Steven D. Myles (G.P.D. '16, opera) is a member of the Metropolitan Opera chorus. Gabriella Reyes ​​(B.M. '16, voice) is performing the role of Musetta in La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera, 2021–2022 season.

Bradley Gibson

Jensyn Oertel-Modero (B.F.A. '08, musical theater) was interviewed by Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey about teaching theater during the pandemic and mastering green-screen technology so her students could present their spring production virtually.

Bradley Gibson (B.F.A. '13, musical theater) was featured on the cover of Encore Monthly as Simba from Broadway's The Lion King, March 2021.

Kylie Jefferson

Joe Longthorne (B.F.A. '12, musical theater) was coproducer of A Christmas Carol, which won five Tony Awards, September 2021.

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Elijah Daniel Smith

Elijah Daniel Smith (B.M. '17, composition) premiered his original piece Scions of an Atlas with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, November 2021.

Jazz Bynum

Jazz Bynum (B.F.A. '18, contemporary dance) was interviewed by KUER 90.1 about her role in shaping Ballet West’s new racial equity policies, November 2020.

Sean Jones (B.F.A. '18, musical theater) plays Action in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, released December 2021. Evan Kinnane (B.F.A. '18, musical theater) was an ensemble member in the Tony Award–winning Moulin Rouge! The Musical, September 2021. Da’Rius Malone (B.F.A. '18, contemporary dance) was appointed resident choreographer for James Sewell Ballet’s 2021–2022 season, September 2021. Maria D’Ambrosio (B.M. '19, horn) was appointed to the Bozeman Symphony, August 2021. Shanelle Chloe Villegas (B.F.A. '19, contemporary theater) starred in BLKS as Octavia at SpeakEasy Stage, November 2021.

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2020s Avery Gerhardt’s (B.F.A. '20, contemporary dance) Massa, an original solo work, was presented at Kraków Dance Festival in Kraków, Poland. Performed by India Hobbs (B.F.A. '20, dance), it was chosen to be in the final performance of the festival, August 2021. Taraja Hudson (B.F.A. '20, contemporary dance) joined BalletX as a fellow, September 2021. Nathaniel Taylor (A.D. '20, cello) performed with Yo-Yo Ma in Yo-Yo Ma: A New Equilibrium, honoring 75 years of the United Nations, and a virtual fundraiser for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, October 2020. Shelbie Rassler (B.M. '20, composition) was an audio mixer on Seasons of Love/Let the Sunshine In for Celebrating America: An Inauguration Night Special, which was nominated in the Variety Special (Live) Emmy category, July 2021. She also helped mix Broadway for Georgia's charity single ”Georgia on My Mind,“ featuring all-star performers Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Idina Menzel, Jessie Mueller, and dozens more, January 2021. Sharmarke Yusuf (B.F.A. '20, contemporary theater) starred in BLKS as Justin at SpeakEasy Stage, November 2021. Christopher Olsen (B.F.A. '21, musical theater) and his partner, Ian Paget, became TikTok stars documenting their relationship during the pandemic. With more than six million followers on TikTok, Olsen was named to the platform’s inaugural Discover List, October 2021.


LEADERSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES Martin J. Mannion, Chair Jeff Shames, Chair Emeritus Susan Whitehead, Chair Emerita Michael R. Eisenson, Vice Chair Erica Muhl, President G. Leonard Baker, Jr. David Clem John Connaughton Cynthia K. Curme^ Emilio Estefan Gloria Estefan Francesca Frederick '16 David Gross-Loh Josh Gruss '97 Thomas M. Hagerty Charles Hirschhorn Steven Holtzman Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Miky Lee (Mie Kyung Lee) Carla Martinez '13 Hassell McClellan Jane L. Mendillo Frederick T. Miller^ Robert S. Murley Anthony Pangaro^ Jon Platt Snow Qin^ Alex Rigopulos Steve Ruchefsky David Scott Sloan^ Darius Sidebotham^ Susan Solomont

Beth Carrillo Thomas '10 Paul D. Wachter Tarik Ward Andy Youniss Marillyn Zacharis^ Barry Zubrow BOSTON CONSERVATORY AT BERKLEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S ADVISORY COUNCIL Teresa Koster, Chair Elizabeth S. Boveroux Davi-Ellen Chabner Caroline McMillan Collings Diana Dohrmann '71 Kate Sides Flather Karen F. Green Mimi Hewlett Sophie Kornowski B. J. Krintzman Laura D. Kunkemueller Dr. Lyle J. Micheli Christopher D. Perry Wanda Reindorf Geraldine R. Ricci Peter J. Wender Edward G. Wertheim Tania Zouikin BOSTON CONSERVATORY AT BERKLEE LEADERSHIP CIRCLE

Howard H. Bengele, Ph.D. Frederic D. Carter, III Miles A. Fish, III '63 John S. Foster Jennifer A. Fraser Ricardo Lewitus, M.D. Michele Manganaro Philip J. Poinelli Anthony Richardson Warren A. Seamans Tricia Swift Alvin Taylor Ann Connolly Tolkoff Rosamond B. Vaule Amy K. Wertheim BOSTON CONSERVATORY AT BERKLEE LEADERSHIP Cathy Young, Senior Vice President and Executive Director Kimberly Haack, Chief of Staff Andy Vores, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer Scott Edmiston, Dean of Theater Tommy Neblett, Dean of Dance Michael Shinn, Dean of Music ^ Legacy Conservatory Trustees List as of December 2021

Anne N. Cuervo, Chair Brendan Murphy, Vice Chair

BOSTON CONSERVATORY AT BERKLEE JOY INITIATIVE To celebrate the Boston Conservatory community coming together once again for in-person learning, Boston Conservatory's Executive Director's Office launched the Joy Initiative, featuring fun-filled gatherings throughout the fall 2021 semester, which included spontaneous pizza parties, coffee and donuts, a Halloween costume contest, and a midterm de-stressing session with baby farm animals.

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