Berklee NYC Reopens the Legendary Power Station Recording Studio with Star-Studded Kickoff
Power Station at Berklee NYC officially reopened on Wednesday, October 27, with an evening of music, art, and reflection at the historic recording facility. The event showcased a $15 million renovation to the space, including high-end video capture, professional lighting, 360-degree cinematic virtual reality, and spatial audio and broadcast livestreaming capabilities. It also included the unveiling of a mural by local artist Mikel Glass honoring artists who recorded at the historic studio, formerly known as Avatar Studios, and originally as the Power Station.
“With tonight's event, Power Station at Berklee NYC celebrates the past, present, and future of this iconic recording studio located in the heart of the creative capital of the world, the New York City theater district," said Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), following opening remarks from Berklee NYC Executive Director Stephen Webber. "We are proud to have supported the preservation efforts of this legendary facility, forever connected to the city’s rich music history, and which now has an expanded role in preparing students to become a part of New York City’s future creative economy.”
“New York City is home to the greatest arts and culture institutions in the world, and it’s a place that grows talented musicians [and] singers and the visual arts. So we are thrilled to have supported the restoration of Power Station at Berklee NYC to help seed the next generation,” said Rachel Loeb, president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “Thank you to Berklee, MOME, and Pete Muller for working with us to provide the next generation of artists with a world-class facility.”
After the unveiling of the mural, Nona Hendryx, singer, producer, and ambassador for artistry in education at Berklee, gave her impression of the renovated space: “This place has been reborn, revitalized, transformed...just amazing.” Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and activist Cyndi Lauper then shared her memories of recording at the facility: “To sing in the Power Station, to play in the Power Station, was so huge. The kids—the youth—they need a place like this...you’ve given them a future.”
Pete Muller, a Berklee trustee who helped facilitate the landmark public-private-nonprofit partnership between the college and the city, looked back on the early ideas of Power Station at Berklee NYC in his speech. “Here we are. The magic of the studios has been preserved, the facilities are now state-of-the art, and the master’s program that started in the fall is thriving…. You can feel the energy; you can feel it here,” he said. “We appreciate that you believed Berklee—in Boston—had something to offer New York City, where the artistry and technological sophistication could not be any higher," added Larry Simpson, Berklee's senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost.
In the evening's closing remarks, Berklee President Erica Muhl said, “By reestablishing this facility as not just a premier large-format recording destination, but also a state-of-the-art learning laboratory that allows for whole new levels of artistic, intellectual, and entrepreneurial collaboration, we have simultaneously increased our ability to nurture emerging artists and musicians, and provided access to all that New York City has to offer to the world’s best, and most talented, creatives.”
Guests had the opportunity to tour the world-class facility as part of the celebration. In Studio A, the Music with a Message Band from the Bronx’s Renaissance Youth Center, a Berklee City Music partner, recorded an original song, “Stand Up,” with platinum engineer Bob Clearmountain. Studio B showcased current students performing “Power,” a song written for the reopening event. Hendryx joined the Berklee NYC Vocal Stax Ensemble students to record “Transformation,” with Roy Hendrickson engineering, in Studio C. Attendees also visited the facility's tech lab to experience 360-degree cinematic virtual reality immersive music videos using Oculus headsets.
This fall, Berklee welcomed the first class of graduate students to its New York campus for its Master of Arts in creative media and technology. Students from the program debuted their songs “The Sound of the World” and “The Sound’s on Us” for the reopening event.
About Berklee NYC
Initially built as a Con Edison power relay station to provide power to Manhattan’s elevated train, the original Power Station/Avatar recording studio was the birthplace of iconic albums by Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Madonna, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Bob Dylan, the cast of Hamilton, and more. As part of Berklee NYC, the studio has been transformed into a state-of-the-art recording and video production facility. With funds from MOME and the EDC, Berklee NYC hosts free and tuition-based educational programs, performances, and resources for local musicians. For more information on Power Station at Berklee NYC, visit nyc.berklee.edu.