The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
Gifted Musician Shining at Berklee

Jan Vincent Huntenburg ’13 (Germany) is closing in on a degree in Composition with a minor in Conducting at Berklee College of Music, long renowned as one of the world’s top music schools.

Jan has excelled in his three collegiate years, posting a GPA that has hovered between 3.7 and 4.0. He recently learned that he will soon take over as president of the Society of Composers, the only collective of undergraduate student composers at Berklee, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world.

At TASIS, Jan focused on guitar and piano and as a senior earned the School’s top music award: the Bertha Seifert Award for Excellence in Music.

“Mr. Morris and Ms. Forrest from the Music Department had a huge influence on me,” he said. “I built what I would call a personal relationship with them, and they were so very supportive of my urge to learn and gave me so many opportunities, such as performing a Vivaldi Concerto as a soloist while being backed by a professional orchestra.”

Jan knew early on that he wanted to study music in college, but he credits the College Counseling Office for helping him land at Berklee, a school that Director of College Counseling Greg Birk had helped a handful of aspiring musicians gain admission to in the past. “They were a great help in finding schools that would suit me because I had no idea,” he said. “They were also a great help with the application process.”

“I used to be only a mediocre student in my school back home, but at TASIS my attitude toward my studies changed completely.”

In additional to his clear musical talent, Jan was a strong all-around student, earning an International Baccalaureate Bilingual Diploma in English and German and receiving honors distinction for nearly all of his six semesters at TASIS.

“I used to be only a mediocre student in my school back home, but at TASIS my attitude toward my studies changed completely,” said Jan, who also received offers from Northeastern University and Boston University. “TASIS taught me how to really have a professional attitude towards my studies, in terms of managing time. And the amount of work that is expected of you is comparable with what you face in college. One class that had a lasting influence on me was Theory of Knowledge (TOK) because it teaches you how to view things from different perspectives. It is all about perception, and I learned how to successfully and intellectually build an argument.”

Jan also played Varsity Soccer and Lacrosse and was selected to serve the community as a Dorm Proctor. It is the sum total of his experiences at TASIS that remains with him today.

“I wish I could pinpoint one specific experience, but TASIS is as hugely inspiring as one big experience,” he said. “The opportunities I was able to take, the guest speakers that came, the Academic Travel, the Faculty, the students themselves—it was all one big inspiring experience for me. I miss most the beautiful location of TASIS; the motivating, inspiring, and encouraging spirit that TASIS radiates; and the many opportunities to learn and grow that are offered daily.”

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