Music for Screens: Summer 2012

Starting next month, Boston-based Berklee (which has long offered a major in film music) will also offer a master’s degree in scoring for film (and TV and videogames) at its new campus in Valencia.

Twenty students from 17 countries have been selected for the first class, according to program director Andy Hill. Five are women, an unusually high percentage for these kinds of programs.

They will undertake “four semesters worth of material condensed into two and a half very intense semesters,” he says. Their final half-semester will take place in L.A., recording their music, taking master classes from industry pros and meeting with composer agents.

“My hope,” says Hill, “is to use the good reputation of Berklee to build a kind of back bench (of composers) for Hollywood and for the global film industry. Five years from now, filmmakers will look to this place as a source of talent.”

Hill comes to Berklee-Valencia from Columbia College in Chicago, where he ran the graduate program in film scoring. Prior to that he was VP of music production at Walt Disney Pictures for a decade, working on films including “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

“We have one of the highest-quality recording studios in all of Europe,” notes academic dean Brian Cole, including a Euphonix System 5 mixing console and room for about 30 musicians. While students will compose using computer software, they will be able to overdub with live brass, woodwind and string players.

“There’s a renaissance of classic film scoring taking place in Spain,” Hill says, citing currently hot composers Alberto Iglesias, Javier Navarrete, Roque Banos and Alejandro Amenabar. Iglesias has lent his name to a scholarship for the program and Navarrete will be conducting master classes in Valencia.

The campus is located in the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, part of the modern City of Arts and Sciences that is located just steps away from some of Valencia’s ancient historical streets and buildings.

“It’s a global industry now,” adds Cole. “Composers can work from anywhere. Here in Valencia, there’s an opportunity to study with composers, producers, guest artists in an environment that is pretty inspirational. It’s an incubator for these young professionals. Partnering with teacher-mentors, they will leave here being part of the industry.”

Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, is famous for its medieval churches, art museums and busy port. And soon, Berklee College of Music execs hope, for its new film scoring program headed by an American industry vet.

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