Updates from the Dean of Academic Affairs | Berklee Valencia Campus
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Fall 2022 Update

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Updates from the Dean of Academic Affairs

May Update

Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

As we approach the end of the spring semester, I wanted to update you on the many activities at Berklee Valencia over the past few weeks. We have hosted a variety of visiting artists, including Mika Sellens, Martin Frascogna, and Justin Stanton. We also hosted a flamenco ensemble from Cadiz, who did a masterclass open to all students. Lastly, we held our third annual INOCON festival, which brought together a variety of speakers from the music industry and performances by Berklee Valencia students. This year we were particularly excited to present art/music installations as part of the event.

Our Lago de Conciertos concerts resumed in April, with ensembles from the Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) masters as well as from the undergraduate programs. Concerts will continue throughout the summer and the fall as we welcome our next cohort of students.

We finished the semester with an ice cream farewell for our undergraduate students. On the other hand, our graduate students are knee-deep in work on their Culminating Experience projects, which they need to present in June. While we are sad to see the undergraduate students leave, we are happy the graduate students can be with us until Commencement on July 4.

I mentioned in my last update that I was hoping to write to you next time from a *sunny* Valencia. Sadly that has not been the case as Valencia has had record amounts of days and quantities of rain. Fortunately, the semester ended with a few beautiful days of sun.

I look forward to sending you more updates soon.

Previous Updates


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

I am writing to you during an unseasonably cool and rainy March in Valencia. We just finished the Fallas festival, during which students also had spring break. Prior to spring break we had many activities, including a session in the Shifting the Conversation series: "What does it mean to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?" During this session, the Student Affairs, Diversity, and Inclusion and the International Career Center teams joined forces in an insightful conversation with LGBTQIA+ advocate and GEMB alum Michi Raymond to explore a range of inclusive hiring practices and resources, particularly as they relate to LGBTQIA+ communities and allies.

In addition, a hiking trip to Chulilla was organized and students across all programs participated. And on March 11, the Global Entertainment and Music Business master’s students recognized music industry executive Rob Dickins with the second Global Entertainment Award.

In honor of International Women's Day we shared “It’s Time,” a video recorded in collaboration with She Knows Tech, which highlights the gender gap in the music tech industry and features female professionals who believe it is, indeed, time for a change.

As I shared in previous newsletters, this year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Valencia campus. We have asked our alumni to share their memories of their time on campus and news about their current projects. These videos are being shared on social media and have featured, among others, Tonina Saputo B.M. ’17, who graduated from Berklee College of Music and also took part in the Study Abroad program at Berklee Valencia, and Jana Sustersic, a 2015 alumna of the Master of Music in contemporary performance (production concentration) program. To watch more alumni stories, visit the Berklee Valencia Youtube channel, and follow us on social media.

Upcoming is our annual INOCON festival, a globally streamed music and technology conference. This year it will be held from April 7–9, and we hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event. Watch the trailer here to learn more about INOCON, and follow the festival's Instagram to get the latest updates.

I wish you a happy and healthy start to spring 2022. And I hope to be writing you next time from a *sunny* Valencia!


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

It is hard to believe that Valentine’s Day is already behind us. The past weeks have flown by since we have had a busy start to the spring semester. On February 4, we held our last show in this year's Berklee a les Arts series, "Abre Tus Ojos." Each Berklee a les Arts program is inspired by an event at the Palau de les Arts. “Abre Tus Ojos” was based on Ariodante, an opera by Handel which explores the themes of love and faith, and their triumph over envy. “Abre Tus Ojos” featured original music, arrangements, and visual content created by students and professors of Berklee Valencia. We explored the themes of Ariodante in a contemporary perspective by presenting the idea that life and our virtual connections have closed our eyes to the reality of the world.

We were also excited to take students on a day trip to Albufera Natural Park, where we saw different species of birds and plants and took a boat ride. Approximately 50 students, primarily from our undergraduate programs, participated in the outing, and it gave them a chance to explore an area outside the city.

Trip to Albufera Berklee Valencia

Our recent events did not stop there. We had our first “Café Solo” since the start of the pandemic. This is an opportunity for an individual or small group of students to perform a short acoustic set in a more casual setting on campus. It also allows our community to hear music throughout the course of their regular day. The first Cafe Solo featured the No Leash trio, formed by Ava Swanson (Guitar/Vocals), Rachel Angel (Guitar/Vocals), and Raquel Serra (Vocals). We look forward to more Cafe Solo events this spring.

We were thrilled to hold the Black Music Summit, a student-led initiative and event to celebrate Black music. Events included a conversation with Tia Fuller, Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, and educator specializing in Jazz and R&B. She has toured with Beyonce, performed with Esperanza Spaulding and Terri Lyne Carrington, and recorded as the saxophone player on Walt Disney’s Soul. Tia spoke on stagecraft, her experience as a black female artist in jazz, and what you need to have a sustainable career as a musician.

The Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games (SFTV) program had a particularly busy start to the semester. In January, the program faculty traveled to London, England, to record the final projects of the master’s classes of 2020 and 2021, which had been delayed due to COVID. Alumni of the program had the opportunity to conduct their works with a professional orchestra at the famous Air Studios. While some of the team was in London, current SFTV students had their own recording sessions on campus.

As you can see, life is busy at Berklee Valencia. We hope that your student is enjoying life on campus and in the city and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. I look forward to sharing more with you next month!


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that 2022 is off to a successful start. We were happy to welcome back our graduate and returning undergraduate students (First-Year Abroad and Study Abroad), as well as greet a new cohort of Study Abroad students. We started the week of January 10 with a remote retreat for faculty and staff, during which we shared updates and enjoyed a presentation by Berklee Boston faculty member Enrique González, titled “Positive Pandemia: Refocusing Stress and its Creative Teaching Opportunities.”

The week continued with orientation activities for the new Study Abroad students, including the “Making the Most of Your Experience Abroad” session led by our new Director of Study Abroad and Special Programs, Katie Irwin. Our students received valuable information regarding the Berklee Valencia campus and the available resources through the informative sessions offered. The orientation week successfully ended with a city tour that included a visit to Valencia’s beautiful Central Market.

student affairs spring orientation

Graduate students participated in our annual Career Summit, which featured speakers from more than 15 companies, including Netflix, Amazon Studios, Sony Music, Chartmetric, United Talent Agency, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Workshops were held on a variety of topics, including job application strategies, IP rights, branding, and social media. There were special information sessions on internships, visas, and the Post-Master’s Program. We wrapped up the Summit week with the performances of various bands and DJs at the Berklee Showcase Concert, where promoters were invited to assist.

Throughout the Summit, a group of students wrote and recorded a song as part of the “Summit Sessions: Ready, Set, Record” program. I encourage you to listen to this collaborative original song, “Wake me in Spring” that was written and recorded in just a matter of days.

We have several upcoming events including a show in the Berklee a Les Arts series, as well as a day trip to Albufera Natural Park. I look forward to telling you about these in the next newsletter.

Best wishes for the New Year!


Dear Berklee Valencia Family

It is amazing to think that we are almost at the end of the semester. We hope that your student enjoyed the fall semester. 

As I mentioned in my last update, we recently had our second concert in the Berklee a Les Arts series, Imago. This performance, which featured music written by our students, was inspired by the upcoming opera in Valencia, Madama Butterfly. In addition to the musical performances, we had a dancer, artist, and narrators, as well as text projected on the walls of the hall. As always, tickets sold out quickly, and it was an outstanding performance. 

We also had an inspiring visit from Berklee’s new president, Erica Muhl, who was accompanied by Berklee’s provost, Larry Simpson. Drs. Muhl and Simpson had the opportunity to meet many of our partners, including the leadership of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the Palau de les Arts, and the City of Arts and Sciences. They had coffee with members of our Student Advisory Board, did an interview with faculty and staff, and discussed future projects for Berklee Valencia. We look forward to their return in the summer for Commencement. 

Shortly after their visit was American Thanksgiving. Due to COVID restrictions, we were not able to celebrate as a group as we have in the past. Nevertheless, we worked with the Hard Rock Café in Valencia on providing traditional Thanksgiving meals, including meat-free options, to our students. They were able to pick up a bag with their meal and eat it with their friends outside or in their homes. 

We also completed the music business webinar series that we offered for the first time this fall. The last session, on Music Publishing, was presented in both English and Spanish and was exceptionally well attended. We were excited to see many participants from Latin America in the session offered in Spanish as this was our first time providing programming in Spanish. If you missed the webinars and are interested in viewing any of them, you may access them by filling this form

As we approach the end of the semester, we will come together as a community one last time for a special holiday edition of our Lago concerts. 

I look forward to updating you on life and events at Berklee Valencia in the new year. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season, filled with music, laughter, and the people you love. Best wishes for 2022!


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

We returned from fall break on November 2, and life on campus quickly resumed its usual energetic pace. The Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games program (SFTV) did a remote recording with an 18-piece orchestra from Budapest, where students conducted a 1:49 cue to picture that they had scored. Global Entertainment and Music Business (GEMB) students celebrated Diwali with a group dinner to make our students from India feel at home and for other students to discover the celebration of lights. Music Production, Technology, and Innovation (MPTI) students benefited from a virtual visit by Maria Elisa Ayerbe, who is nominated for four Latin Grammys, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Traditional Pop Album. And students in the Contemporary Performance, Production Concentration program (CPPD) gave performances open to the whole community as part of their weekly Forum.

The activities don’t stop there! A series of events are being offered for students who live in Collegiate, including a cookie baking workshop and exercise classes - yoga, circuit training, and functional training - to help work off the cookies! As part of Flamenco Week, the entire community is invited to watch the documentary Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories. A film screening will also happen in the LENS course, required of all First-Year Abroad students. There will then be a post-viewing discussion with the director of the film, as well as with the main musician and dancer featured.

Student clubs are in full swing, with the Songwriting Club, the Meditation Club, and SPARK meetings, a discussion-based group for students of all backgrounds who want to dive deeper into issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability in the music industry. And the undergraduate representatives to the Student Advisory Board have organized a Friendsgiving event, which will happen at Collegiate.

As I mentioned in my last update, we have instituted a new event series called Agora. Recent sessions include two Coffee and Careers activities, both addressing online presence: Content Strategy and Engagement Strategy. And Student Affairs, Diversity, and Inclusion, along with Melanin Madrid, offered a virtual space for BIPOC community members and allies to come together and debrief on life in Valencia and at Berklee and discuss recommendations.

In the coming weeks, we are looking forward to the visit to Valencia of Berklee President, Dr. Erica Muhl, along with Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Dr. Larry Simpson. They will, among other things, meet with representatives of our Student Advisory Board (SAB). In addition, in the coming weeks, the SFTV students will be recording a Brass Quintet live at the Aula Magistral. And Femke Weidema, a Grammy-winning songwriter/producer/entrepreneur, will complete a two-week residency on songwriting for Sync Licensing, working in particular with MPTI students.

We are also preparing for our next Berklee a les Arts performance, which will follow on the great success of our October show, Por el Mar. And we are excited to be putting together a holiday concert, which will feature, in larger part, our undergraduate students. I look forward to sharing updates and pictures from those events with you.

Finally, if you have not already done so, I recommend that you follow our social media channels and sign up to receive our newsletter, which will provide you with updates through the academic year.


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

It has been a busy start to the semester and students are preparing for their upcoming midterms. As I came into the building this morning, I also heard some students discussing their fall break travel plans. I heard the word “Milan” and lots of gushing from the other students. It is great to hear them excited about what is ahead and embrace the many opportunities available to them while studying at Berklee Valencia. I would also like to assure you that we reach out to students before they leave to share travel and safety tips. And we ask that students register their travels with us through this form, so that we know where they are.

As previously mentioned, it has been a busy start to the semester, not just with classes but with various other activities. We were pleased to have Roger Brown, former president of Berklee, on campus. We organized a concert in his honor and he was interviewed by Emilien Moyon, program director of Global Entertainment and Music Business. We have also had various co-curricular and extra-curricular events, including a sunset catamaran trip for students and events for Mental Health Awareness Day. Our Lago de Conciertos outdoor concert series continued through October 8, with students from different programs performing for the general public.

We are excited this fall to have two hours a week where all students are free. We have therefore organized a series of events, called Agora, for students to, among other things, develop career skills and engage with topics related to diversity and inclusion. Recent sessions have included “Coffee and Careers: Music Revenue - Sources of Income” and “Great Berklee Library Online Resources You Should Know About.”

If you want to dive deeper and get to know the faculty in Valencia or receive a sample of our academic offerings, we encourage you to register for the free webinar Licensing Music in Global Markets. Finally, if you have not already done so, I recommend that you follow our social media channels and sign up to receive our newsletter, which will provide you with updates through the academic year.

As you can see, there are many activities on the Berklee Valencia campus and lots of opportunities for your student. I look forward to updating you again in the next newsletter!


Dear Berklee Valencia Family,

As Dean of Academic Affairs, I am pleased to welcome all Berklee Valencia students and their families - by birth, adoption, or election - to the 2021-22 academic year. We are excited to be able to continue to offer in-person instruction at the beautiful Berklee Valencia campus and are thrilled to have you as part of our extended family. This is a particularly exciting year for us as we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary. Thank you for being part of this historic event.

We were happy to welcome 207 students this fall; 147 are part of our graduate programs and 60 participate in our Study Abroad or First Year Abroad programs for undergraduate students. One of the most exciting things about Berklee is that our community is composed of people from around the world and we are fortunate to currently have students from 41 countries on campus.

All Berklee Valencia programs provide globally-minded students the opportunity to become successful music leaders and prepare for international careers. Students experience a culturally diverse setting in a city known for its rich history and its musical traditions. And they can interact with people of various backgrounds and perspectives. Undergraduate students, most of whom have studied at Berklee Boston or will be joining that campus for their second year, have the opportunity of interacting with students in our four graduate programs. In addition, many of our graduate students pursued their undergraduate studies on the Boston campus and are excellent ambassadors, and mentors, for our undergraduate students.

In addition to their classes, students can be involved in campus in a variety of ways: they can perform in concerts, such as our Lago de Conciertos series and our Les Arts events, or engage in co-curriculaar activities such as our record label, Disrupción Records, or in our annual music-industry event, INOCON.

The International Career Center at Berklee Valencia and the office of Student Affairs, Diversity, and Inclusion host a variety of events for students including speakers and workshops, with the goal of preparing students for life post-Berklee. Sessions on music revenues, content strategy for your online presence, creative rights, and LGBTQ+ inclusion, among others, will be covered this fall.

In addition, we are offering a series of extracurricular activities including a walking tour of the old city, a visit to the art center Bombas Gens including a private session with Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, and a sunset catamaran tour. All of these activities are designed to build community and help students connect across programs.

While we are excited by the classes we will be offering this fall and the other activities we are providing students, we want to assure you that our main goal this year is to keep our students, staff, and faculty safe. We have instituted various health and safety protocols including additional cleaning procedures, a mask requirement at all times on campus, and distancing requirements. And we are, of course, following all regional and national health and safety guidelines. You can read more about our COVID-19 measures, and the current situation in Spain, on our website.

If you would like to get a taste of what our students are experiencing this fall, I would encourage you to take this virtual campus tour and visit this tourism Valencia website to see all that the city has to offer. If you want to dive deeper and get to know the faculty in Valencia or get a sample of our academic offerings, we encourage you to register for these free webinars for music industry professionals that will happen in October and November. Finally, if you have not already done so, I would recommend that you follow our social media channels and sign up to receive our newsletter, which will provide you with updates through the academic year.

I was, however, saving the best for last as we have put together a flickr album of pictures from our first couple of weeks on campus. Enjoy!

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and allowing us the opportunity to work with your students this year. We look forward to a great semester and to telling you all about it.


Simone Pilon Dean of Academic Affairs
Berklee Valencia

Simone Pilon serves as Dean of Academic Affairs for Berklee Valencia. Prior to her appointment in this role in 2020, she served as Chair of the Liberal Arts Department for Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Before Berklee, Simone worked at a private liberal arts college where she taught French language and literature, oversaw study abroad, and built international partnerships and programs. She has been a Fulbright-Hays scholar to Morocco and Tunisia and has led study abroad programs in Africa, Canada, and Europe. Simone has published in international journals, edited two books, and presented at national and international conferences. Simone holds a Master’s degree in French Literature from McGill University and a PhD in Québécois Literature from Université Laval.


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