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After Valencia in Spain and NYC, the Boston-based Berklee College of Music now has a UAE location inside the iconic UAE Pavilion beside Manarat Al Saadiyat

For those like us who have been wondering what was cooking at the UAE Pavillion facing Manarat Al Saadiyat , we got the answer during Hay Festival Arabic (at the end of February 2020) as we could see the new tag installed saying: BERKLEE ABU DHABI.

If you are new in Abu Dhabi, you may not be aware that this fantastic landmark was the UAE pavilion during the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and was designed by Norman Foster, a landmark immediately recognizable thanks to its sand dunes shape.

The Department of Culture and Tourism- Abu Dhabi (DCT ABU DHABI) is introducing the first Middle East outpost of Berklee College of Music: the preeminent institute of contemporary music and the performing arts inside this pavilion that was just revamped and repurposed.

Berklee College of Music is the preeminent institute of contemporary music and the performing arts, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programmes at its campuses in Boston, USA and Valencia, Spain, and through its award-winning distance learning programme, Berklee Online.

Dedicated to nurturing the creative and career potential of the world’s most inspired artists, Berklee’s commitment to arts education is reflected in the work of its students, faculty, and alumni hundreds of whom have been recognised with Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy Awards.

Berklee Abu Dhabi will be offering world-class educational experiences through workshops, masterclasses, courses, ensembles and labs, all led by world-renowned artists and instructors. They also plan to host live performances from students, alumni and global artists. Located right next to Manarat Al Saadiyat cultural centre, Berklee Abu Dhabi will also have access to performance spaces in Manarat al Saadiyat’s existing building.

As mentioned on Berklee’s website, “One-third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight of Abu Dhabi. The reach of Berklee’s new center will therefore stretch far beyond Abu Dhabi itself. The center will offer exceptional educational experiences and public performances for students from across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.”

Settling their Middle Easter home in the UAE Pavilion’s newly renovated 42,000-square-foot arts education centre on Saadiyat Island, their institute has a performance space, a recording studio, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, ensemble rooms and a multimedia tech lab.

With a first semester running until May 2020, their programmes offered in Abu Dhabi will serve local and regional students of all ages with ensembles, private instruction, a recording studio and instruction in production, songwriting, dance, theatre and more.

We had a quick glance at their website and there is already a full line up of programs to take part in ranging from DJ Skills, Music Production, to Jazz Movement Principles, Classic Modern Lab, Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble amongst may others.

World-class instructors for these exciting sessions will include: Stephen Webber, an Emmy-winning composer, and the Executive Director of Berklee NYC who, amongst many other accolades, founded Berklee’s DJ and turntablism classes; Ruka White, the Director of the Commercial Dance Intensive, Programme Director of the Berklee Summer Initiative, and Assistant Professor of Dance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee; Acclaimed Palestinian multi-style cellist/composer Naseem Alatrash; Emilien Moyon, the Director of the Global Entertainment and Music Business Graduate Program at Berklee in Valencia, Spain; pioneer of online music mixing Richard Furch, who has worked as a mixer and engineer for artists such as Prince, Outkast, Frank Ocean, and GEM; award-winning songwriter and artist Kyler England; and Rich Jacques, a Los Angeles-based artist, Grammy-winning producer, and composer, amongst many others.

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مع تعليم على مستوى عالمي، تأتي وجهة  متميزة وفريدة من نوعها.  #بيركلي_أبوظبي تتضمن مرافق مثل مساحة لعروض الأداء، واستديو تسجيل من الطراز العالمي، وقاعات للتدريب، وغرف للفرق، ومختبر تقني. كل ذلك في قلب جزيرة السعديات. With world-class instruction, comes world-class facilities. #BerkleeAD will include state-of-the-art recording and rehearsal studios, performance space, ensembles, and labs. All in the heart of Saadiyat Island. #AbuDhabi #inabudhabi #Music #Dance #PerformingArts #Berklee #أبوظبي #موسيقى #فنون_الأداء #بيركلي #في_أبوظبي

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Check their website here to get the full scoop and browse their programme:

“Berklee Abu Dhabi will incorporate alumni and prominent musicians, with Grammy-nominated, Lebanese American singer-songwriter Mayssa Karaa serving as Artistic Director, and prominent music producer and Grammy and Latin Grammy winning engineer Gael Hedding appointed Director of Berklee Abu Dhabi. Both Karaa and Hedding are Berklee alums, with Hedding also having taught at the Valencia campus. Berklee Abu Dhabi will recruit additional alumni from the region as both permanent and guest faculty. Additionally, guest artists from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee will be featured during workshops and clinics in dance and musical theatre at the centre.

The establishment of Berklee Abu Dhabi furthers DCT-Abu Dhabi’s mission to build and support a thriving cultural ecosystem in the emirate. As the first institution offering international-calibre music instruction in the UAE, the curriculum will enhance Abu Dhabi’s calendar of performing arts, currently taking place in spaces such as Manarat Al Saadiyat and the Cultural Foundation Theatre, and complement the work of the Bait Al Oud academy.”

Life is Nectar Café | now open inside Berklee Abu Dhabi

BERKLEE ABU DHABI | Housed in the UAE Pavilion located beside Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi


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