Alan Cumming to Headline Boston Conservatory at Berklee's 150th Anniversary Gala
Boston Conservatory at Berklee will celebrate its 150th anniversary in spectacular fashion on May 9 with a grand gala at Symphony Hall, featuring Tony Award-winning Broadway and television star Alan Cumming as Master of Ceremonies.
The evening, which will delight guests with a musical tribute to the Conservatory's history, will include a cocktail reception, inspiring performances by talented Boston Conservatory students, and dinner at Boston's iconic Symphony Hall. Proceeds support the Conservatory's world-class dance, music, and theater programs for students across the globe. Boston Conservatory will also award an Honorary Doctorate to Cumming in recognition of his contributions and activism to the international arts community.
Cumming has won numerous awards, including the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Cabaret and is a fixture in Boston as host of WGBH's Masterpiece Mystery! Beloved by television audiences for his Emmy-nominated performances on The Good Wife, the Scotsman was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.
The Conservatory's sesquicentennial celebration is an extraordinary milestone in the history of what is today's most complete and comprehensive performing arts institution in the world. The Conservatory's distinctive, multidisciplinary structure and world-class faculty are key to its success in training performing artists, instructors, and creative entrepreneurs.
"Our 150-year achievement is irrefutable proof of the lasting value of arts education to enrich our culture and the world," said Richard Ortner, president of Boston Conservatory at Berklee. "Conservatories play a vital role in ensuring that the beauty and inspiration of the performing arts are a legacy passed from one generation to the next."
The Conservatory was founded in 1867 by violinist and visionary music instructor Julius Eichberg, a former Conservatoire of Geneva professor who emigrated to the United States from Germany. Today the school's highly sought-after instructors are distinguished artists and leading practitioners in their fields, holding positions with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and a host of other prominent local and national companies. Last year's historic merger with the renowned Berklee brought new synergies and expanded learning vistas for students at both institutions.
"The joining of these two extraordinary institutions gave us a unique opportunity to create an educational environment that will nurture the next great generation of performing artists and arts professionals who will thrive and lead their fields," said Roger Brown, president of Berklee. "We now have an unmatched abundance of creative and passionate students, faculty, staff, and alumni."
More than 10,000 Boston Conservatory at Berklee alumni are engaged in diverse work in the arts all over the world. Many have achieved the highest honors in their fields, including Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Golden Globe, and other major awards. Four alumni recently nominated for 2016 Tony Awards include Jennifer Simard (B.F.A. '92, musical theater), for her role as a gambling-addicted nun in Disaster!; producers Ben Simpson (B.F.A. '11, musical theater) and Joe Longthorne (B.F.A. '12, musical theater) who received a Best Musical nod for Waitress, which also starred former Conservatory student Kimiko Glenn; and Constantine Maroulis (B.F.A. '02, musical theater), who was part of the producing team that received the Best Revival nomination for Deaf West Theater's groundbreaking production of Spring Awakening on Broadway.
In music, violinist and alumna Christina Bouey has won the coveted Grand Prize at the prestigious 2016 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition with her string ensemble, the Ulysses Quartet. In contemporary dance, Boston born and raised Ebony Williams (B.F.A. '05), former star of the Cedar Lake Dance Company, continues her work dancing with Beyonce and is a regular "artist-in residence" at the Conservatory.
The Conservatory itself has also earned many prestigious honors, including the Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts' highest honor in arts, humanities, and sciences in recognition of its music programs for students on the autism spectrum and with special needs.
Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides a progressive learning environment where students are challenged to realize their potential as artists and inspired to pursue their dreams. Founded in 1867, it is the oldest performing arts conservatory of its kind in the U.S. Long recognized for its specialized training in dance, music, and theater, the Conservatory's recent merger with Berklee now combines this rigorous, focused instruction with unparalleled access to a broad range of academic and creative opportunities. Set in the cultural, historical, and educational hub of Boston, this extraordinary institution represents the future of performing arts education. For more information, visit www.bostonconservatory.berklee.edu.