BOSTON: For over half a century, the Berklee College of Music here has produced some of the world’s best musicians, including Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winners.
It attracts students from 70 countries worldwide annually, among them Malaysians wanting to pursue music professionally.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who visited the renowned college here yesterday, was noticeably impressed with the institute that started out as a small music studio and grew into the world’s largest independent college of contemporary music.
He noted that Berklee already had a Malaysian connection, offering a transfer programme at the International College of Music in Kuala Lumpur (ICOM).
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, expressed confidence that collaboration with the world’s top music institute would be further enhanced as more Malaysian students were now opting to study music professionally.
He said this after a briefing by the college’s vice-president Lawrence E. Bethune on Monday morning. Also present was Muhyiddin’s wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman.
Of all US colleges and universities, Berklee has the largest percentage of undergraduate students from outside the United States, with 22.8% representing more than 75 countries.
It was started in 1954 by Lawrence Berk, an MIT trained engineer and musician who wanted to teach contemporary music.
Students at Berklee are exposed to a range of instruments, musical styles and career options to help them find their own paths.
ICOM, which opened its doors in 1996, is today Asia Pacific’s leading music college focusing on contemporary music.
Muhyiddin hoped that his visit to Berklee would help pave the way for greater cooperation between the United States and Malaysia in the field of music and the arts.
The Deputy Prime Minister arrived here on Sunday for an official one-week visit to further promote bilateral ties with the US, a follow-up to efforts initiated by the Prime Minister last year.