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Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed oversees Mohamed Al Mubarak and Roger Brown of Berklee signing the deal. WAM Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will soon boast its own international music college, following the signing of an agreement with the Boston-headquartered Berklee College of Music.

Berklee is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, and the institution will establish Berklee Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.

The agreement was signed with the emirate’s art sector regulator, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).

According to details revealed by the DCT, the school will be located in the UAE Pavilion building in the Saadiyat Culture District, right next to Manaarat Al Saadiyat. It will span 3,900 square metres, and include a performance space, a recording studio, practice rooms, ensemble rooms and a tech lab.

The school is expected to launch its first semester in February 2020, which will run until May 2020.

The collaboration between DCT Abu Dhabi and Berklee also sees the creation of a $5 million fellowship fund, which will offer scholarships for students to pursue degree programmes in Boston, New York, Valencia, or through Berklee Online. Students can also attend a summer programme in Boston or Valencia, or attend a programme in Abu Dhabi.

“The establishment of Berklee Abu Dhabi furthers DCT Abu Dhabi’s mission to build and support a thriving cultural ecosystem in the emirate. As the first institution offering international-calibre music instruction in the UAE, the curriculum will enhance Abu Dhabi’s calendar of performing arts, currently taking place in spaces such as Manarat Al Saadiyat and the Cultural Foundation Theatre, and complement the work of the Bait Al Oud academy,” said Mohammad Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT.

Berklee currently boasts many famous alum, including Charlie Puth and John Mayer. According to the school’s website, 125 of its alum have received a total of 295 Grammy Awards between them, as well as five Academy Awards.

What will the school offer?

  • There will be classes for students of all ages in various subjects:
  • DJing
  • Turntablism
  • Songwriting
  • Music production
  • Dance
  • Contemporary string techniques
  • Music business
  • Recording and mixing
  • The music of the Middle East
  • Jazz improve and Music Theory
  • Creative entrepreneurship