September 4, 2017
Dear members of the Berklee community,
I am pleased to announce that the City of New York has joined forces with Berklee and Pete Muller, a Berklee trustee, in a public-private-nonprofit partnership to establish a center for Berklee in New York at the historic Power Station Studios on West 53rd Street. Berklee will operate the studio—where artists like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Tony Bennett, Pat Metheny, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Madonna, Bob Dylan, the cast of Hamilton, and many others recorded iconic albums—while renovating and transforming it into a state-of-the-art recording and video production facility for the city’s music, theater, television, and film industries.
In addition to the studio renovation, the building’s lower level will be converted into a flexible-use practice/performance venue, featuring a professional stage and state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and projection technology. It will also include a video control room to capture and post-produce video from all over the building, and a virtual reality/augmented reality studio.
The original name of the studio will be revived as Power Station at BerkleeNYC.
The project was spearheaded by Pete Muller, an accomplished singer-songwriter who started out busking in the New York City subways, recently performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and is a pioneer in quantitative investing.
This project is possible because of three very significant philanthropic gifts, one of which is the largest in Berklee's history. We believe more will be forthcoming. These will constitute the Berklee New York Fund, which will provide the resources to operate educational programs, renovate and reimagine the studios, and more.
Stephen Webber, who led our technology programs at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, will lead the center as executive director of BerkleeNYC, as he contributes to Berklee at large as dean of strategic initiatives.
This new home for Berklee brings enormous opportunities to expand our presence in New York, and create continuing education, career strategy, and skills acquisition programs for musicians, composers, producers, music business students, and engineers; as well as programs exploring the intersection of music, dance, theater, and technology; artist incubation; and internships for Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students.
There is a lot of work ahead of us to determine an ideal blend of professional recording, educational programming, and community outreach. In the coming months, the facility will undergo a two-phase refurbishment period, financed by the largest philanthropic contribution in Berklee’s history. Stephen will be leading the effort to transform the technology and the physical plant, while developing our professional vision and educational programs. We welcome your comments and questions as we work together to increase educational and career opportunities for the Berklee community.
Many thanks to Stephen, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer Mac Hisey, Vice President for Innovation and Strategy Panos Panay, and Jeff Wilkins, strategic advisor to the Muller family office, for their dedicated work in helping to make this a reality, and to Pete Muller for his vision in seeing the possibilities of this historic collaboration.
Roger H. Brown