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When Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell launched Lollapalooza in 1991, it became a national touring stage for alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and hip-hop. Following a hiatus and revival, its scope has evolved to a destination festival and recently gone international. But one thing has remained constant: its dedication to showcasing up-and-coming and established musicians, and its commitment to music education.
Now a recent Berklee partnership has underscored the latter. Thanks to a new scholarship, two musicians from Chile and Brazil will have the opportunity to participate in summer programs at Berklee's Valencia campus.
The opportunity comes on the heels of the Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship, a four-year full-tuition scholarship established in 2011.
Berklee's announcement of that scholarship at the annual Chicago festival coincided with the news that Lollapalooza would go international with festivals in Santiago, Chile and São Paulo, Brazil—leading to the expansion of the scholarship.
It was a natural fit, combining Berklee's and Lollapalooza's shared passion for music education—under the leadership of music business/management professor Jeff Dorenfeld, Berklee has been taking music education initiatives to Lollapalooza since 2011—with the chance to expose Latin American musicians to Berklee in Valencia.
"Lollapalooza has a strong commitment to music education, and when we announced the first Berklee scholarship [festival founder] Perry Farrell talked about the importance of music education," said Dorenfeld, continuing, "What better way for us to introduce the Valencia campus to musicians in Latin America than to associate with Lollapalooza, one of the biggest festivals in the world?"
The scholarship recipients choose between four summer programs at Berklee's Valencia campus: Singer-Songwriter and Vocalist Program; Berklee Groove School; Art of Improvisation: Blues and Jazz; and Re:Tool – Music Technology in Performance and Production.
Winners Sarah Messias—a 16-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Jundiai, Brazil who counts harmonica as her favorite instrument but who also plays piano, guitar, and drums as well as sings—will attend Art of Improvisation: Blues and Jazz. Manuel Torres Riquelme, 21—who hails from Linares, Chile and plays electric guitar, piano, and percussion—will attend Berklee Groove School. They both took some time to talk over email about their musical backgrounds and their expectations of their upcoming experience at Berklee in Valencia.
How did you hear about the scholarship and why did you apply?
Messias: My mom and my brother found the link to the scholarship on the Lollapalooza website. Then I decided to apply, because it would be a great opportunity for my career.
Torres: I saw it in a local newspaper. I applied because it was a unique opportunity to, for few days, be at the best music school in all the world.
How long have you been playing? Do you come from a musical family?
Messias: I started to play piano when I was 4 years old. And at 11 years old I started to play harmonica. My dad plays drums in a rock band (Zabbada's band), and my sister plays guitar, piano, and drums.
Torres: I've been playing about nine years, and no, I do not come from a musical family, just my father plays a little guitar.
Who are your musical influences?
Messias: My favorite styles are blues, jazz, and rock 'n' roll. I like bands such as Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Rush, Deep Purple, Muse, Oasis, and bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy. Because of my age, I don't know so many jazz artists, but I am influenced by big names of this style, names such as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Hermeto Pascoal (Brazilian jazzman), among others.
Torres: I have many influences on music, from many styles. They include John Petrucci, Louis Armstrong, Hans Zimmer, Steve Morse, Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and many others.
What do you hope to get out of the program?
Messias: I hope to discover new techniques, styles, and new friends. I also hope to open my view of music, interact with different artists from different places in the world, and perhaps take the first step in my professional career.
Torres: I think that I'm going to understand the groove. Also, I hope to get many skills to compose and perform.
What do you anticipate with being connected to a Berklee program?
Messias: For those who choose careers in the music, there is no better place to study. In my opinion, Berklee is a dream for any musician.
Torres: I know that Berklee is a very important institution in the music world, with many successful people who graduated from there—famous people like Howard Shore, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, etc. Also, musicians Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius have influenced me.
How do you see music education in the context of your musical development?
Messias: I have grown up with music, and this helps me in different aspects, especially at school. It's important for children to learn music, because it can helps with character development.
Torres: Music for me is everything. The possibility of studying it, it's great—understanding how music is composed, how to interpret it, and many other things; there is nothing better than that. With these tools, you and music become one.
Have you ever been to Spain and what are your expectations of studying at Berklee's Valencia campus?
Messias: I've never been out of Brazil; this will be my first time abroad. I am very excited, and I can't wait to attend the program. I have high expectations about it, and I think that it will be very enjoyable.
Torres: I never went to Spain before. I saw the campus in photographs and videos; it's amazing! There are excellent teachers, very great installations, and the best music equipment. I hope to learn from the best all that I can, and bring with me that knowledge for my life as a musician.
A year ago, a Chilean musician (Benjamín Lechuga) won a worldwide contest, a scholarship to study in England, and was selected by Steve Vai. If you're not a musician, you may have never heard of such an achievement. This [Lollapalooza scholarship] is great opportunity for a Chilean musician and I am very grateful. Here in Chile it is difficult to be a musician; people don't appreciate it as in other countries.