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Power Station at Berklee NYC

In the 1970s, the doors of a converted Con Edison power station were opened to create Power Station Studios. The high-tech recording equipment hearkened back to the building’s past, while founder Tony Bongiovi’s wood paneled design for the domed recording studios brought a unique warmth and comfort to those using the space. Bongiovi’s design is singularly able to support multitrack recording and achieve what is known in the industry as “live sound. ” The particular magic of Power Station Studios has attracted talent for decades, including Cyndi Lauper, John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Sting, and numerous Broadway casts. The studios are now run by the Berklee School of Music under a partnership with the city and entrepreneurial musician Pete Muller. Power Station has been updated with state-of-the-art technology to meet the standards of today’s multimedia music industry. BerkleeNYC’s Executive Director Steve Webber is using these facilities not only as a resource for its students and for acclaimed artists, but also for young people by establishing relationships with nearby high schools, neighborhood associations, and after-school programs. As a tangible acknowledgement of the studio’s history, Power Station commissioned a large-scale art piece by contemporary artist Mikel Glass, which acts as both an homage to a selection of stars who have passed through the studios as well as a contemplation of “the struggle of the artist and society in general. ” The piece celebrates the machinery of music-making in a multimedia assemblage that frames the painting, including chopped up bits of CDs around the frame. Yet it also dwells on the pitfalls of celebrity culture, the battle for the spotlight, and the role of social media in modern society. For Mikel, the painting was an especially personal and emotional one. Not only had he spent three decades working in his studio a block away, but Power Station was also the “beating heart” of his best friend from high school, who worked at the studio after college and passed away soon afterward. While preparing for the piece, Mikel described uncovering a demo tape that his friend’s band had recorded at Power Station decades ago. “It became the cornerstone of the installation from where it blared, causing me to work through many tears as I reflected on the passage of time. ”Just as it did for Mikel when he discovered his friend’s recordings, Power Station and the art it enables continue to act as a boon for human feeling and connection. In perfect harmony with its history, Berklee and its collaborators now bring Power Station Studios into a new age. Read about the Power Station's reopening in the W42ST article, “Switching the Lights Back On at Power Station Studio. ”