Grammy award-winning pianist and composer Michel Camilo announced recently that a full-tuition, full room and board scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston will be presented to a student from the Dominican Republic this year. Camilo, a native of Santo Domingo, previously made the announcement at a press briefing for his February 19 concert in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
The Michel Camilo Scholarship will be presented to a young musician, either Dominican-born, or of Dominican descent, with both exceptional talent and a passion for a career in music. The scholarship recipient will be able to attend Boston's Berklee College of Music, alma mater to such musical luminaries as Quincy Jones, Juan Luis Guerra, Diana Krall, John Mayer, and Danilo Pérez, with all tuition and housing paid through graduation.
"It has been a dream of mine to help create a scholarship for a young Dominican musician for several years now," said Camilo. "I have been extremely fortunate in my life and in my career, and I feel equally fortunate to have partners, in Mike Dreese, and Berklee College of Music, who share my dream, and have helped me make this scholarship into a reality."
As a young man growing up and studying piano in Santo Domingo, Camilo came to know the Bostonian college through jazz lessons he studied by mail, using Berklee books and recordings. In more recent years, he has enjoyed a close relationship with the pioneering Boston music college, giving clinics and master classes for its students. In 2000, for his many and enduring contributions to the world of music, Camilo was presented with Berklee's honorary doctorate degree. He is currently serving the college as an Alpert Visiting Professor, sponsored by the Herb Alpert Foundation.
After Camilo created the scholarship, Mike Dreese, founder and CEO of Boston's nationally-known Newbury Comics record store chain, and a member of Berklee's board of trustees, decided that he wanted to make a major contribution to the fund, to allow the recipient to attend the college for a full four years.
"Michel is one of the great stars of this music, and one of the most ardent advocates for music education that I've met," said Dreese. "Berklee is dear to me, in large part because of the amazing opportunity it represents for students from all over the world to meet and play together. I felt moved by Michel's mission to bring a young musician from the...