Twenty-Eight Musicians Win Scholarships at 16th Annual Berklee in Puerto Rico Program

Twenty-eight Puerto Rican musicians were awarded scholarships at the closing ceremony of Berklee in Puerto Rico, a weeklong workshop held at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest.

Four students received full tuition awards to Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program; 16 students received partial scholarships for full-time study at Berklee in Boston; 5 students won Berkleemusic.com free online courses; and 3 students won one semester of study at Conservatorio de Belles Artes del Caribe in San Juan. 179 students, ranging in age from 12 to 34, participated in this year’s workshops. Over $3 million in tuition assistance has been awarded in the 15 years of the Berklee in Puerto Rico program. More than 100 of these recipients have gone on to attend Berklee, including Miguel Zenón.

A group of the program’s top students played for thousands of people at the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest, at the Tito Puente Amphitheater, in San Juan, on the final day of the festival. Following the performance, Berklee presented an honorary doctor of music degree to percussionist, composer, and bandleader Giovanni Hidalgo. A native of Puerto Rico, Hidalgo is considered one of the best conga players of his generation, and possibly the fastest. A former member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra, he has performed or recorded with Tito Puente, Paul Simon, and Art Blakey, among others. Hidalgo taught in Berklee’s percussion department from 1992-1996.

Berklee in Puerto Rico is a crash course in the Berklee method of musical instruction, encompassing theory, ear training, improvisation, ensemble performance, and instrument instruction. This year’s faculty included Eguie Castrillo, island native and associate professor of percussion; saxophonist Greg Badolato, assistant vice president for international programs; Oscar Stagnaro, bass professor; Rick Peckham, assistant chair of guitar; drummer Ron Savage, chair of ensembles; pianist Rebecca Cline, assistant professor of ensembles; trombonist Bob Pilkington, professor of jazz composition; vocalist Darcel Wilson, ear training instructor; and trumpeter Christine Fawson, brass instructor.

Berklee in Puerto Rico is made possible by generous support from Berklee alumnus and trustee Luis Alvarez ’83, vice president of Mendez & Company, Inc., and executive producer of the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest. In addition to helping coordinate the program, Alvarez and his corporation will donate $20,000 for the Mendez & Company Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest Scholarship to be awarded at the end of the Berklee in Puerto Rico program. In the 15 years that the program has run, Mendez & Company has awarded over $150,000. Additional Berklee in Puerto Rico sponsors include Fundación Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (main sponsor); Triple-S; Fiddler González & Rodríguez; and Carrión, Laffitte & Casellas.

Berklee in Puerto Rico

 2010 Scholarship Recipients

Five-Week Summer Performance Program full tuition awards:

Alpha Berrios – Toa Baja – Flute

Carlos Abdiel Hernandez Rivera – San Juan – Trumpet

Nathanael Perez Del Valle – San Juan – Alto Saxophone

Paola Maria Vazquez – Toa Baja – Violin

 Full-time study at Berklee in Boston partial scholarships:

Dorianne Andrades – Carolina – Voice

Arturo Caraza Orozco – San Juan – Alto Saxophone

Luisa Cartagena – Guaynabo – Flute

Joel Corporan – Saint Just – Piano

Alex Gasser – San Juan – Electric Bass

Fernando Lopez Roman – San Juan – Trombone

Jesus M. Melendez Vazquez – Humacao – Flute

Christian Negron – San Juan – Drums

Leonardo Osuna – Bayamon – Drums

Andres Padro – Carolina – Voice

Juan Rivera – Moca – Guitar

Alexandra Rivera – Aguada – Piano

Barbara Rivera – Richardson – Carolina – Voice

Pedro Ruiz – Carolina – Trumpet

Jonathan Suazo – San Juan – Tenor Saxophone

Johnny Torres Medina – Bayamon – Electric Bass

 Berkleemusic.com free online courses:

Lourdes Gonzalez – Caraballo – Caguas – Voice

Angel Graciani – Carolina – Tenor Saxophone

Alejandro Proskauer Valerio – Guaynabo – Baritone Horn

Marcos Rios – Caguas – Guitar

Walter Gorra – Glenwood Springs – Piano

 Conservatorio de Belles Artes del Caribe awards:

John Carlos Medina – Aguada – Piano

Julio Pena Hernandez – Ponce – Trombone

Marina Molina – Ponce – Flute, Voice

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