Berklee and Umbria Jazz Celebrate 30 Years of Jazz Clinics

Thrity years ago, Berklee and Umbria Jazz started clinics for young musicians that coincided with the popular Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. A host of special events throughout this year's festival will mark the three-decade anniversary. 

July 1, 2015

Berklee, the world’s leading college of contemporary music, and Umbria Jazz (UJ), the foremost international jazz festival, will celebrate 30 years of Berklee-Umbria Jazz Clinics at this year’s event in Perugia, Italy,  July 10-19. Commemorating the anniversary, Umbria Jazz will feature a Berklee Night on the eve of the festival, presentations of Berklee honorary doctor of music degrees, and scholarships to attend Berklee in Boston or Valencia, Spain.

“It is hard to believe that 30 years has passed since the start of our collaboration with Umbria Jazz and the first Berklee-Umbria jazz clinic,” said Beeklee President Roger H. Brown, who will attend the festival. “In that time almost 6,000 students from all over the world have experienced this unique Berklee educational opportunity taught by our professors and alumni. We are proud to be celebrating this momentous occasion and look forward to another 30 years—and beyond—of the Berklee-Umbria alliance and clinics.”

Berklee Night will take place on July 9 at 9:00 p.m. at Perugia's Piazza IV Novembre, and feature a concert by Berklee artists who are familiar to Umbria Jazz audiences. Performers will include Larry Monroe, saxophonist and former vice president who developed the college’s relationship with Umbria Jazz and presided over the clinics for 27 years, and Donna McElroy, vocalist, professor, and longstanding clinician. Closing concert will be Alissia and the Funkateers, led by Alissia Benveniste '14, bassist, songwriter, bandleader, and Berklee-Umbria Jazz Clinic scholar.

Berklee honorary doctor of music degrees will be presented by President Brown to multi-award winning Italian trumpeter and flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and professor Paolo Fresu, and Charles Lloyd, the American saxophonist renowned for his improvisation and interest in the cross-pollination of jazz, rock, and non-Western styles, and his contributions to fusion and world music. Berklee’s honorary doctorate recipients are recognized for their achievements in contemporary music, their enduring contributions to popular culture, and the influence their careers and music have on Berklee’s international student body.

The 30th Berklee-Umbria jazz clinic, July 7-19, offers 200 aspiring musicians an intensive 12-day program focusing on performance and building musical growth and development. Taught in the world-famous Berklee tradition of emphasising jazz and contemporary music, students will participate in classes, ensembles, performances, jam sessions, and a series of concerts, concluding with a graduation ceremony. Participants also receive passes to the Umbria Jazz main stage, where the likes of Cassandra Wilson, the Brand New Heavies, Robert Glasper, Tony Bennett, and Lady Gaga will perform.  

In honor of the 30th anniversary, Berklee is offering scholarship opportunities to jazz clinic students. Among the scholarships to be awarded will be full- and partial-scholarships to the Boston campus' undergraduate program, full-tuition scholarships to the contemporary performance master's program at the Valencia campus, and full-tuition scholarships to the Boston Five-Week Summer Performance Program. Scholarship winners will be announced at the graduation ceremony on the final day of the clinic.