By Sam Bridge
Berklee Abu Dhabi in Saadiyat Cultural District will open in partnership with the US-based Berklee College of Music
Abu Dhabi culture and tourism chiefs have announced that it is to launch Berklee Abu Dhabi in Saadiyat Cultural District in partnership with the US-based Berklee College of Music.
The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) said the new music college will offer workshops, masterclasses, courses, ensembles and private instruction from Sunday.
Programmes offered at Berklee Abu Dhabi will serve local and regional students of all ages with instruction in music production, songwriting, vocal skills, dance, theatre and other disciplines, a statement said.
It added that Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning engineer and music producer Gael Hedding has been appointed director, and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mayssa Karaa as artistic director. Both are Berklee alumni.
Berklee Abu Dhabi is located in the newly renovated Norman Foster-designed UAE Pavilion building, next to Manarat Al Saadiyat.
The structure has been transformed into a 42,000-square-foot arts education centre, with facilities including a performance space, a world-class recording studio, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, ensemble rooms, a tech lab and office space.
“Part of our long-term cultural strategy is to not only bring the best artistic and musical talent to the emirate, but to nurture the homegrown talent that we have right here,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.
“Berklee Abu Dhabi’s programme is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of audiences, at all levels of ability from beginner to advanced. Whether participants would like to take up a new hobby, or have dreams of a creative career path, we are now offering the highest calibre of music and performing arts instruction to the Abu Dhabi community. This is an important step in further establishing the emirate as a global hub for culture and education.”
Berklee College of Music president, Roger H Brown, added: “Berklee is excited to work with Abu Dhabi to create an environment that nurtures the growth of talented musicians, actors and dancers. We believe that such an education not only enriches the culture of a place, but allows its people to partake in one of humankind’s oldest and most pervasive rituals — artistic expression of the joys, sorrows, struggles and achievements of life.”
Berklee Abu Dhabi has recruited a diverse group of top level professionals from Berklee’s network of alumni and faculty from its Boston, New York and Valencia campuses.