Berklee announces the appointment of Brian Cole as the academic dean of its new international campus in Valencia, Spain. The appointment follows an international search to select the right candidate to take up this post, prior to the start of the college’s first-ever master’s degree programs in contemporary music in September 2012.
Cole joins Berklee in Valencia from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, where he has served as associate dean for the past seven years, supervising graduate and undergraduate performance programs in classical, jazz, and Caribbean music. During this time he led a substantial curricular expansion, including the launch of graduate degrees in classical, jazz, and Caribbean music performance, as well as orchestral and choral conducting. In addition, he developed international exchange programs between the Puerto Rico Conservatory and musical institutions throughout North and South America, including Berklee College of Music.
“Brian will bring to Berklee a wealth of experience. He is an accomplished musician and conductor, as well as an experienced academic leader with an exceptional academic record,” says Guillermo Cisneros, vice president for global initiatives, Berklee College of Music, and executive director, Berklee in Valencia. “As such, he is the ideal person to lead, direct, and oversee the academic direction of our new campus in Valencia as we embark on a new phase in our history.”
Cole was educated in the U.S. and became an accomplished music academic: he holds a bachelor of music degree (bassoon performance) from Louisiana State University, as well as a master of music degree (instrumental conducting) from the University of Illinois, and recently completed doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. He began his career in theater in 1996 at the Baton Rouge Little Theatre in Louisiana, where he was music director and conductor for a number of productions.
Over the following years, Cole gained extensive experience in both the concert hall and the theater, leading orchestras and operas throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. He was apprentice conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, and assistant conductor and director of outreach and education for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. In 2004, he was appointed music director of the Concert Orchestra of the Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and conducted an orchestral concert series. He also taught courses in conducting, musicianship, and orchestral repertoire until 2005, when he left to join the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music.
Cole will join a strong academic team, including master’s program directors Allen Bargfrede and Victor Mendoza, as well as Camille Colatosti, dean of institutional assessment and graduate studies, who has also been acting dean for Berklee in Valencia. In September, he will welcome the first class of Berklee master’s program students, currently being selected from among the high number of top-quality applications received from 53 different countries.