Contemporary Performance Students Take Over Festival de Les Arts Stage
Ryan Kimbrell (saxophone), Michael Bester (guitar), Hooni Min (keyboards), Tabari Lake (bass) and Joshua Wheatley (drums) perform at Festival de les Arts 2017. Photo by Tato Baeza.
Berklee's Discover series of concerts, organized by the campus in Valencia, Spain, throughout the academic year, represent a journey of self-discovery for students of the Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) program in their search for a musical identity. “These gigs helped me discover that I am a blues musician. I loved performing in the Discover Series,” said student Matthew Struthers.
The grand finale took place on June 10 as part of the Festival de les Arts, a music event celebrated in Valencia that is now in its third year. Berklee students were featured together with established names on the Spanish indie music scene, like La Habitación Roja, Hola A Todo El Mundo, Iván Ferreiro, Sidonie, and La Casa Azul.
Students Struthers, Emmanuel Linois, Kevin Reierson, Devin Malloy, Polina Zizak, Michael Bester, Caleb Gore, Johann Audiffren, and Steve Umculo formed Berklee Valencia’s lineup in a 65-minute performance produced and directed by Casey Driessen, director of the master’s degree program.
Each student performed one song, showing a great diversity of styles from rock to pop to funk. Struthers was on stage for four minutes, performing the song “Big City Blues.” “I now feel much more confident on stage than at the start of the master’s degree program. Also, it was a great experience to play other genres I was less familiar with, like fusion, which is something I never did before,” he said.
The festival, which was attended by 40,000 people, was a great opportunity for the contemporary performance students to say farewell to Berklee and Valencia in style before starting a path of their own.