Berklee’s Scratch Ambassadors Mix Turntables with Acoustic Music on April 21st
April 21, 2011
Stephen Webber, a Music Production and Engineering professor, is bringing turntables into the spotlight with the college’s first Scratch Ambassadors! concert. Following success abroad, the first Scratch Ambassadors! program on American soil will be held at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., on April 21 at 8:15 p.m. The program – a series of performances by small ensembles – will highlight Berklee’s turntable students as they perform with acoustic musicians. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
The groups will present a range of styles, from hip-hop, jazz, and reggae to bluegrass, folk, and pop. Close to 20 students, faculty, and administrators – including rising jazz and folk guitarist and one of Glamour magazine’s “Top 10 Women of 2010,” student Emily Elbert, and Berklee’s president, Roger Brown – will share the stage to perform pieces with never-before-heard instrumental combinations. Vocalists and musicians playing banjo, mandolin, saxophone, fiddle, guitar, electric bass, cello, brass instruments, drums and fiddles will mash acoustic music with DJ/turntablists on stage. Webber, a.k.a. Professor Scratch, a veteran record producer, engineer, music director, studio designer, recording artist, and session player turned turntable expert founded the college’s first turntable ensemble in 2005. Like other Berklee ensembles, the turntable ensemble focuses on playing and performing in a small, audition-only group. The Scratch Ambassadors! concept – pairing the turntable ensemble with acoustic musicians – was borne from the ensemble’s first trip overseas to Helsinki, Finland. After attending the group’s inaugural performance there, the U.S. cultural attaché to Finland invited the group to return to share this uniquely American concept with the Scandinavian country, this time for a five-stop tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Following successful turntable expeditions to Finland, Athens, Australia, and Ecuador, Webber sought to bring the Scratch Ambassadors! concept back home to Berklee’s own stage. “Berklee is this totally unique place where musical styles and cultures mix freely and frequently,” said Webber. “This concert will set out to capture the joy of not settling any stylistic boundaries.” Can’t make it to the concert? Berklee has teamed up with Concert Window to broadcast live streams of this and other Berklee shows. Visit concertwindow.com/berklee for more information.
About Berklee College of Music: Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 65 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art music and the music business. With over a dozen performances and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.