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Berklee Unveils New American Roots Program

By Allen Bush, Director of Media Relations - Berklee College of Music
November 23, 2009 - 5:00 pm

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Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music

Boston, Mass. — When Mark O'Connor performs at Berklee College of Music on Dec. 10 with a group of faculty and students, he'll be celebrating more than the end of his week-long residency. He'll introduce Berklee's new American Roots Music Program, directed by Matt Glaser.

Reflecting violinist Glaser's own eclectic tastes and journeys, the American Roots Music Program explores America's musical and cultural heritage, and creates a focus on the styles from which contemporary sounds originate.

Students will delve into blues, gospel, folk, country, bluegrass, Cajun, Western swing, polka, Tex-Mex, and other music.

Glaser will design the curriculum, promote nontraditional improvisation, develop faculty programs, and host visiting artists, concerts and symposiums.

Top contemporary performers, writers, and producers who are carrying on the American roots traditions constitute the board of advisors to the Roots Music Program: Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Leo Kottke, Charlie Haden, Edgar Meyer, David Grisman, Andy Statman, Don Rigsby, Lloyd Maines, Liz Carroll, John Blake, Geoff Muldaur, Bruce Molsky, Ted Gioia, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Darol Anger, Ray Benson, Doug Wamble, John Lawless, Fletcher Bright, Sara and Sean Watkins, and Micheal Doucet.

About the Concert:

Americana and Roots: Mark O'Connor at Berklee takes place on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, at 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. General admission tickets are $20-$25, and available at the Berklee Performance Center box office, at or by calling (617) 931-2000. For concert information, call (617) 747-2261.

In addition to O'Connor, performances will includes Berklee faculty members Matt Glaser and John McGann, student bluegrass groups, the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, and the Berklee Jazz/World String Orchestra.

Additional information:
Berklee Performance Center


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Reader Comments

November 23, 2009 05:39 PM
Is our own John McGann involved in this program? Seems to me 'twould be wise to include him ... ;-)
Scott Tichenor
November 23, 2009 06:09 PM
You might want to try reading the article before you criticize smile.
November 23, 2009 09:44 PM
You misunderstood. I saw Mr. McGann is ON the program (for the concert); I was wondering whether he was involved IN the program - ie, teaching. I have an understandable desire to see mandolin included in a roots music program at a prestigious school such as Berklee.
John McGann
November 24, 2009 06:27 AM
Quote from journeybear: You misunderstood. I saw Mr. McGann is ON the program (for the concert); I was wondering whether he was involved IN the program - ie, teaching. I have an understandable desire to see mandolin included in a roots music program at a prestigious school such as Berklee. End Quote

Thanks, totally involved, everything I do is under that roots music umbrella:

• Private lessons on mandolin and guitar
• Celtic Music Ensemble
• Django Reinhardt/Gypsy Jazz Ensemble
• Mandolin Chord Lab
• String Improv Skills Lab (Bluegrass, Celtic and Swing)
• Bluegrass Guitar Lab

Also the Summer Five Week Program (string theory and bluegrass ensemble), Acoustic String Festival, and a variety of concerts, workshops (hosted Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, Tommy Peoples and Matt Flinner among others). Lots going on for mandolin at Berklee, we have around 23 principals at the moment and lots more doublers (including bass/mandolin!)

Mandolin has been an instrumental principal at Berklee since 2004, and mandolinists can take advantage of anything offered at the school...we have mandolinists majoring in performance (natch), film scoring, music therapy, trad composition, jazz composition, music technology, music education, you name it...
November 24, 2009 07:55 AM
Thanks for taking the time to post all that info, John, and thanks for your contributions there. It is very gratifying to know that mandolin has that much of a presence there, and in so many genres and applications. I did also want to say the program has an outstanding board of advisors. I hope this becomes a successful and permanent part of the curriculum.

Good luck with your concert there!
November 24, 2009 05:44 PM
This is a great idea. For a few years now, we've had a number of Berklee grads (or near grads) perform at our concert series, as either leaders of a band or part of a band, and to formalize it into a full-fledged program is great. The talent level is awesome, both in faculty and students, so it'll be great to see what sort of talent they turn out over the next few years. A program like this is long overdue, and I'm sure will draw a number of students from out side the bowed-stringed instrument persuasion that we're most familiar with now. Good Luck!!
November 25, 2009 02:19 PM
The 2009 Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contest was pretty much swept by Berklee students, former students, or students to be. The level of talent exhibited there was beyond anything I have heard in 45 years of playing Old Time music.
The program may be new but the students are already there to help it thrive.
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