Alum Notes: Spring 2021
Gabriel Heiser of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, began recording a series of original music and videos in March 2020. Today, there are many music videos on his YouTube channel. These songs were in response to the quarantine in Mexico.
Giovanni Quattrone of Phoenixville, PA, is also the cofounder of the Syracuse Jazz Fest. He’s studied with Alan Dawson, Ed Shaughnessy, Joe Morello, Gary Burton, and others. He’s performed with Jeff Lorber, Buddy Miles, Ella Fritzgerald, and others.
David Dubinsky B.M. of Oldsmar, FL, was inducted into the South Philadelphia Cultural Hall of Fame in September in recognition for his lifetime contributions as a trumpeter, educator, musical arranger, festival adjudicator, and clinician. In 2015, he appeared in the Walt Disney film The Finest Hours.
Kevin Driscoll of Framingham, MA, is a musical ventriloquist with DriscollProductions.com and the Driscoll Dummies, which recently released "The Coronavirus Blues," featuring Doug the Talking Dog.
Douglas Jackson of Elizabeth City, NC, is the writer and producer of the EP Night Moves, which was released in June on the Los Angeles–based label Centroplex Records. He is an associate professor of music at Elizabeth City State University and a North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar.
Jeffrey Meyer of New York, NY, has been working on two new projects. On his album Images, he acted as producer, composer, and drummer. On ’Bout Time, which features several Berklee alumni, he produced music and lyrics. Both projects are available to download.
Joel M. Shaw of Brighton, MA, has been a substitute DJ on WOMR.org in Provincetown, MA, for the past seven years. As of last fall, when a permanent show opened up, he is on the air the first Friday of each month from 1:00–4:00 p.m. He plays the American songbook as well as all styles of jazz.
Jerry Tachoir B.M. of Hendersonville, TN, and Marlene Desbiens Tachoir B.M. ‘77 are known as the Duo Tachoir (vibes and piano) released a new recording, Shades of Blue, on March 1, 2020, on Avita Jazz Records.
Skip Benton B.M. of Reno, NV, has been selected to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Reno Philharmonic.
Trevor Davison B.M. of Pawleys Island, SC, is retired. As recently as five years ago he was playing 200 dates a year in New York, playing piano, writing, arranging and performing with his big band, the Trevor Davison Orchestra, while also teaching 25 piano and voice students per week.
Harrison R. Goldberg B.M. of Gualala, CA, is a saxophonist and percussionist. He and Steven Miller, who form the jazz/world fusion duo Neon Egypt, released a second album, Unearthed. It offers exceptional examples of Goldberg’s three saxophones paired with Miller’s Shendai Melodic Drums.
Michael Druxman B.M. of Corrales, NM, a former trombonist, now plays bass exclusively. His song “What One” won the Best Jazz Composition category at New Mexico Music Awards, and another song, “Don’t Hurt Me Herzog," was nominated. His band, Last Call, played regularly in Albuquerque before Covid-19.
Rick Richbourg B.M. of Ramrod Key, FL, relocated from Orlando, and is playing in a classic rock band.
William Tiger Fitzhugh of Hendersonville, TN, and Rich Adams B.M. '82 perform in the Nashville area as part of the trio Amity 3, an ensemble consisting of classical guitar, cello, and drum set and mallets. CD and audio samples are available at Amity3.net.
Jawanza Kobie B.M. of Wilmington, DE, along with Bill Pierce ’73, Jackie Beard ’80, Ron Mahdi ’80, Terry Thompson ’78, Keith Gibson B.M. ’85, Federico Alanis B.M. ’79, held a 40-year reunion of their band while getting together to record a couple of tracks for Kobie’s upcoming CD.
Robert B. Fisher B.M. of Thousand Oaks, CA, retired after 35 years in the entertainment business as a re-recording mixer/audio mastering engineer.
Dave Askren B.M. of Monrovia, CA, and Jeff Benedict celebrate the music of Wayne Shorter on their third album, Paraphernalia, released in May. It follows 2017’s Come Together, which All About Jazz said “offers a complex carbonation of effervescent tunes that will excite and engage...even for the most discerning jazz aficionado.”
Frank Macchia of Burbank, CA, and Brock Avery ’79 completed their second set of recordings featuring Avery’s improvised drum solos, to which Macchia composes music. Rhythm Abstraction: Gold, the second EP of a three-EP series, was released in April 2020.
Ron Sarja of West Brookfield, MA, is a Boston-based composer of music for all media. He’s had 2,400 track placements, and his music can be heard worldwide in television shows, commercials, documentaries, and film. In 2018, he was among a group of composers that contributed music for HBO’s Vice.
Linda Nash of St. Petersburg, FL, is a flutist and released her CD Sound & Light in October 2019. It features several original compositions by Nash and her husband, Glenn Stevenson. Listen on Spotify or at lindanashmusic.net.
Scott Robinson B.M. of Teaneck, NJ, has a new album, Tenormore, featuring Helen Sung, Martin Wind, and Dennis Mackrel. It’s his 20th as a leader, and the first to exclusively focus on the tenor saxophone. It won JazzTimes’ Readers Poll for Best New Release of 2019.
Benjamin Smeall B.M. of Green Bay, WI, and his son Arthur Smeall B.M. ’16 are a duo called Duo Los Golondrinos. They specialize in all types of Hispanic music, especially Andean, and are strongly influenced by North American jazz, country, and rock.
Gary S. Stager of Torrance, CA, is a veteran teacher, educator, and author. He launched a new publishing company, Cymbal Press, to amplify the wisdom of musicians, music writers, and music educators. Its first book is the memoir Life in E Flat—The Autobiography of Phil Woods.
Jonathan Tangu of Neptune, NJ, performs as Jay and Amy in central New Jersey.
Paul Tomashefsky B.M. of Shrewsbury, MA, has taught elementary instrumental and general music in the Westborough Public Schools for 30 years. He is also a freelance trumpeter in Double Take Jazz Combo, Fantasy Big Band, and the Mid-Town Horns, and has a private student studio.
Jeff Lopez of Laurence Harbor, NJ, collaborated with fellow alumni and other musicians to record his original big band and string composition “Blue Waves.”
Jose Antonio Breuer Moreno of Asunción, Paraguay, played in the Asunción International Blues Festival in 2017 with the Deeks. He also accompanied Mike Stern as interpreter at a press conference and at a master class when he played with Dave Weckl in the ASUJAZZ 2018.
Mike Rivard of Jamaica Plain, MA, produced, arranged, composed, and played bass and sintir on Night Sparkles (Face Pelt Records), the latest release by Club d'Elf. He also played bass on Duke Ellington's “Harlem Suite" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and played sintir and electric bass at the 2020 Wintergrass Festival.
Paul Godwin B.M. of Placerville, CA, is the owner of, and executive producer at, NEWdOG Records, and recently signed a distribution deal with Burning Shed for the U.K. and Europe. NEWdOG released its 11th album in late October 2020. NEWdOG was previously distributed by WEA in North America.
Sims Delaney-Potthoff of Madison, WI, released their new album Beyond the Pale, dedicated to all the mighty musicians who are weathering the storm of uncertainty in these unprecedented times. This lavish collection of 11 songs include original Harmonious Wail compositions, some standard gems, and other tunes.
Elizabeth Walker of Nesbyen, Norway, released her debut CD of original compositions, Then Still, on the Norwegian label Resonant Music. It features her on piano and Terje Gewelt ’87 on bass. The recording is available on CD and all streaming channels.
Joe Doyle B.M. of Nashville, TN, was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
Terje Gewelt of Nesbyen, Norway, released a new jazz album, House on a Hill, in 2020.
Mathew Reichardt B.M. of Brookhaven, GA, is the director of digital marketing for Sage and has worked in the U.S.A. and E.U. for Coke, TV Guide, and Newscorp. He has produced music for several global campaigns and recently won a Drum Award for best B2B campaign.
Raju Gurung B.M. of Kathmandu, Nepal, released the feature film Bicycle Dreams on Amazon Prime.
Doug Hammer B.M. of Lynn, MA, released his 13th album, Piano2. This album of piano duets features him playing both parts. It debuted at no. 4 on the Amazon New Age charts.
Ron Leonardi B.M. of Seattle, WA, released an album of piano compositions, Slow Motion Departure, in 2018. He scored the independent film Read Me in 2016, and currently plays keyboards with the cover band Hit Explosion.
Tony Dec of Southampton, NY, created and developed the curriculum for the world's first-ever, one-year academic program in podcasting at Stony Brook University. He is also a mentor, training aspiring podcasters to bring their stories to life, and has been making his own podcasts since 2004.
Heather Edwards B.M. of New York, NY, cofounded AhHa!Broadway, a women-led organization bringing arts education to underserved, diverse communities through musical theater programming and tailored workshops. The nonprofit expanded into several states due to programming being retooled for virtual instruction. Follow @ahhabroadway.
Dean Johnston B.M. of Milton, MA, released their first record as a leader, It’s Here Now, under the moniker the Graduals, in November 2020.
Matthew Goldberg, a.k.a. Matthew Shad, of Cooper City, FL, is proud to announce his new collaboration with Grammy Award–winning producer and engineer Bob St. John. The two have recorded songs for a new SHAD album; songs "Fool" and "Belittle" are available on all major platforms.
Andrew Lilley of Cape Town, South Africa, wrote a book on the accomplished South African jazz pianist and composer Bheki Mseleku. The Artistry of Bheki Mseleku (African Minds) is a study of his musical compositions and style with extensive transcription and analysis.
Chris Vibberts B.M. of Petaluma, CA, released the soundtrack Passage: Music from the Film Why Not Home? The documentary this music was written for is about medical personnel who have chosen to have their babies at home. Proceeds from Bandcamp go to FAM: The Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery.
Daryl Shawn of Pittsburgh, PA, has turned their focus to solo acoustic guitar with various world influences. They’ve released five albums of original music, and have performed nearly 1,000 times. Shawn streams solo guitar concerts every weekday at 5:00 p.m. on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Periscope.
David Marks B.M. of Bayside, NY, released a new album, Universal, in May 2020. It’s about personal love connections to his wife Beth and children, and about how the pandemic has changed our world. He performs all vocals, guitars, basses, keyboards, and drum programming on the album.
Eric Baines of Van Nuys, CA, is a Los Angeles–based bassist and vocalist, who recently launched a new podcast, The Dive Bar Rock Star, which features conversations with working musicians and music professionals. Baines is also the bassist and vocalist for country icon Dwight Yoakam.
Richard D'Abreu Jr. of North Chesterfield, VA, is a gospel jazz saxophonist, pianist, and songwriter. Since Covid-19, he’s performed biweekly from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Fridays on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. His debut CD as a leader, Jazz in the Spirit, released in June.
Claudia Rodriguez-Urio B.M. of Geneva, Switzerland, released an album, Terra (homerecords.be) in January 2021. It will be followed by a tour in Morocco in April 2021. Rodriguez-Urio also founded a duo called Duone with drummer Dawoud Bounabi, and recorded an album called Time, to be released this year.
Stephen Catizone B.M. of Reading, MA, opened Infinite Recording of New England, specializing in artist-based production, new producer mentoring, and music publishing. This is his latest venture in a successful history owning and operating prominent recording studios such as Serenity West in L.A. and Sanctum Sound in Boston.
Geoff Gallegos B.M., a.k.a. Double G, of Los Angeles, CA, conducted the world premiere of his first opera, Another Perfect Day, to a sold-out crowd at A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena in January 2020. He also graduated from Loyola Law School in May.
Torbin Harding B.M. of Shrewsbury, MA, released two albums, You Don’t Have to Walk Alone and Hi Fi Art, in 2020. The two collections of alternative and Americana songs were released on Harding’s independent record label, LoZRecords.
Emilio D. Miler of Buenos Aires, Argentina, produced the album Sorte! Music by John Finbury, which was nominated for a Grammy. The album featured fellow alumni and was recorded at the Power Station at Berklee NYC. Miler had previously won a Latin Grammy for production work on Mister G's Los Animales.
Kasson Crooker B.M. of Shoreline, WA, released a music VR experience called (m)ORPH for Oculus and Vive in which players interact with audio in real time to create an evolving music environment. (m)ORPH is not a game, but a 360-degree artistic and musical experience.
Paulo Tozzi of São Paulo, Brazil, won an Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting award at the 2019 Great American Song Contest.
David Weiser of Haverhill, MA, released a music-themed children's book, The Boy Who Wanted to Rock. To help launch it, he enlisted the help of some Broadway and West End heavy hitters to record a pair of companion songs and a narrated audiobook.
Johnny Walker of Flagstaff, AZ, performed and recorded with legendary Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai up to the pandemic, and appears on R. Carlos Nakai Quartet’s latest release, What Lies Beyond. Walker also released his own solo recording, Glimmer. Both are available on all streaming platforms.
Aaron Kaplan B.M. of Torrance, CA, has had music on the soundtracks of numerous film and TV projects, including Netflix’s Tiger King. In September, he launched Improper Records out of his own ARK Studio in Torrance. He plans to release EPs in 2021. Read his interview in VoyageLA.
Pablo Ablanedo of Cambridge, MA, signed with Newvelle Records, and released a fifth album, Chistreza, in April. It features Anat Cohen B.M. ‘98, Jenny Scheinman, Chris Cheek B.M. ‘91, and others.
Steve Fekete B.M. of Northridge, CA, has been playing guitar and keyboards and singing with the band America for the last two years. He has also been releasing new music monthly, which is on all streaming platforms, and on Bandcamp.
Julian Graciano of Buenos Aires, Argentina, released a collection of tango books published by MELOS / Ricordi Argentina.
Noriko Ueda of Brooklyn, NY, released an album with ARTEMIS on Blue Note Records on September 11.
Brian Gibbs of Morgan Hill, CA, and his studio is producing records and mixing remotely using services like Source Connect, and was featured by console manufacturer Audient.
Bruno Canale B.M. of Lima, Peru, produced a Peruvian percussion ensemble course for Pallqa Music and Campus Romero, a local virtual platform being utilized during the pandemic. His band La Ciudad released its second album, Salvador.
David Lockeretz of Millbury, MA, released his second solo record, Mulligan!, featuring drummer/engineer/producer Paul Tavenner B.M. '86 and guitarist Anthony Fesmire B.M. ‘97. Lockeretz is also collaborating remotely with Fesmire in the modern jazz trio Outside Pedestrian.
Tanisha Hall B.M. of Los Angeles, CA, founded White Hall Arts Academy, which won a $25,000 grant from the Lewis Prize for Music’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund for continuing to provide for South Los Angeles youth during the pandemic by offering virtual programs.
Jeremy Pelt B.M. of Nanuet, NY, a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and author, recently published a book on contemporary jazz, Griot: Examining the Lives of Jazz's Great Storytellers. The book is available here.
George Kallis B.M. of Woodland Hill, CA, has composed scores for the most successful Russian films over the last seven years. He is working with the Walt Disney Company CIS from L.A. on the sequels to The Last Warrior. His Russian scores include Gagarin First in Space and Lev Yashin.
Shri Prasanna Ramaswamy B.M. of New York received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, for the year 2021.
Ervin Dhimo of Reading, MA and his trio, ELEKTRIK MARKET, toured to promote their new album, Attraction, in Europe, including a show at the prestigious jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London, England.
Fawn Drake, a.k.a. Fawn®, of Los Angeles, CA, released her music video "Wait for the Sun Black Lives Matter" featuring Debra Wilson, Joanna Cassidy, Pato Banton, and around a dozen Berklee alumni.
Gregg Stein B.M. of Framingham, MA, launched Triple G Ventures, an agile business growth firm, helping creative, purpose- and passion-driven entrepreneurs navigate tough times.
Haddon Kime B.M. of Atlanta, GA, wrote and directed a musical comedy for Out of Hand Theater about life during COVID-19. Produced while following social distancing guidelines, "LAG: A Zoomsical Comedy" premiered on Zoom in May. It’s available to license and can be streamed at www.zoomsical.com.
Monique Dacheff B.M. of Austin, TX, is a recording musical artist who received media attention for her song "All Together," written for the KVUE Austin All Together ATX Telethon as a COVID-19 Relief Media Partner to help those hurt by the economic consequences of COVID-19 in greater Austin.
Tabreeca Woodside of Queens, NY, has been working with jazz bassist director Ike Sturm at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City. She did a jazz vespers solo performance on October 25 that can be found on YouTube.
Wesley Smith B.M. of Gainesville, FL, did the orchestrations for an industry reading of the musical The Civility of Albert Cashier, cowritten by Keaton Wooden, Joe Stevens ’81, and Jay Deratany at Sunlight Studios in New York City in February 2020.
Peter Hasler of Zurich, Switzerland, is a percussionist and songwriter. In 2020, he released the children’s book The Supermice of Mortirolo-Pass, and the nonfiction book Peter Hasler's Inventory—Thoughts about Society. Both books were released through his publishing company, Supermouse Productions. The books are in German.
Darcie Nicole B.M. of Yishuv Chashmonaim, Israel, launched singles on iTunes and Amazon on January 22 via digital distributor Octiive. The singles feature Nicole’s work in jazz-tinged organic soul and vintage ’90s R&B as well as newer a cappella ambient ballads.
Jen Hernandez of Springfield, OH, has artwork and photography that has been shown throughout the U.S. at many exhibits and events. Her recent project is Naked: The Nude Body Empowerment Project.
Jorge Salán Gonzalez of Madrid, Spain, plays guitar with Jeff Scott Soto (Sons of Apollo, Journey) and Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow), and has released 12 solo albums. This year, he released a “rockumentary,” 20 Years is Nothing, looking back at his 20-year career.
Maria Morales B.M. of Bogotá, Columbia, known by her artist name, Majo Riveira, released her single "En Algún Sueño," which has musical and lyric elements that evoke ’40s and ’50s movies. It is available on all digital music platforms.
Neil Santos B.M. Hudson, NH, was a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest in the instrumental category with his song "Sound the Alarm." He also launched the innovative new improvisation course for intermediate guitar players called The Pentatonic Way.
Kevin Devogel B.M. of Baltimore, MD, has been working as a stage manager for various bands since graduating, and is now a stage manager Ram's Head Live in Baltimore and the Fillmore Silver Spring.
Sam Bird B.M. of Los Angeles, CA, won the BAFTA for game sound design last year for God of War, and has been nominated for two BAFTAs this year, one for sound design for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and one for composer for Wattam.
Stephen Cox B.M. of Knoxville, TN, works for Discovery as a music product manager. Cox manages all music content used by Discovery worldwide. Roles include music supervision for all Discovery productions, curation and management of Discovery's internal music library, and publishing and licensing of commissioned works and original music.
Vreny Van Elslande B.M. of Santa Clarita, CA, published their first book "Guitar Essentials" in August 2020. Carl Verheyen loves and strongly recommends the book.
Monika Hoffman of Malmö, Sweden, released her newest album, Ten Muses, in 2020. It followed her Latin jazz album, Let's Run Away, featuring Paquito D'Rivera, Oscar Stagnaro, Mark Walker, Tim Ray, and Paulo Stagnaro. Ten Muses was recorded in Germany and received great reviews in Sweden, Germany, and Hungary.
Alejandro Lopez Maciel B.M. of Mexico City, Mexico, released a new single, "!agrevalA." It follows his 2016 debut, "El Parna López." The new song is available on all digital platforms. Lopez is a songwriter, music producer, and artist who blends banda music and a peculiar style of electronic/dance.
Daniel Weniger B.M. of Gais, Switzerland, released Voyagers, a cinematic, live-choir album written in various languages, including some from sci-fi. Voyagers features a series of songs that represent space exploration and the different cultures in our galaxies. He has also written music for award-winning theatrical campaigns.
Nicholas O'Toole B.M. of Inglewood, CA, was a finalist for two Music +Sound Awards for best sound design in sonic branding (Oxygen network - NBC Universal) and best composition in branding (Al Jazeera). O’Toole is currently writing the original music for Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 and MX v ATV 2.
Brian Ostreicher B.M. of Oakland, CA, recently completed a home studio build, and is available for remote drum recording sessions.
Dan Radin B.M. of Asheville, NC, has been an audio tech for 15 years, developing and launching over 75 products for Sennheiser, Alesis, SteelSeries, and Harman, as well as his own podcasting software startup, Auxbus. He recently joined Cambridge-based audio-technology company iZotope as its head of product marketing.
Ruth Livingstone of Kalamazoo, MI, is a songwriter and publisher of musical content placed on Comedy Central’s Adult Swim, Soma FM streaming service, and the Sirius XM’s station Chillout.
Vasco Hexel B.M. of Cologny, Switzerland, released his new studio album, XIX, a reflective musical journey composed, recorded, and produced during the 2020 pandemic. It is available on all streaming platforms, and will have 19 accompanying original short films launching on YouTube in spring 2021.
Ivana Kotov of New York, NY, is a singer and composer who joined the acid-jazz pioneers the Brand New Heavies as a background vocalist in 2012. The band performed at Essence Music Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival, and Capital Jazz Festival. In 2016, it performed live on Good Day New York.
Kate Hesler B.M. of Brooklyn, NY, spent six years working in NYC's outdoor festival market and was recently appointed director of marketing at the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, which reopened in 2015 after a $95 million restoration. She directs all promotional strategy for a variety of performances.
Alexander Beram B.M. of Charlestown, MA, is a cofounder of March for Music Education (MME), which together with VP Records, Slightly Stoopid, Lauryn Hill, and the Marley Foundation, raised $50,000 in 2019 for student scholarships at the famed Alpha Institute in Kingston, Jamaica. Visit @kingshighwayofficial.
Sayuri Nakajima of Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan, is a Japanese translator for quality music publications, including The Contemporary Singer and Vocal Workouts for the Contemporary Singer (both by Anne Peckham, Berklee Press), and Vocal Improvisation (Michele Weir, Advance Music). Nakajima also provides live-feed translated subtitles for vocal webinars.
Joe Matzzie of Reseda, CA, released an album titled Classical Guitar, featuring solo guitar arrangements of music by Puccini, ABBA, Aretha Franklin, Henri Mancini, Billie Holiday, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, and more.
Ross Gruet B.M. of Durham, NC, joined Rockhouse Partners, a division of Etix, as a marketing specialist at their North Carolina headquarters in January 2020. Gruet plays bass in the indie punk band Exit Mice and recently wrote and recorded instrumentals for the popular children's podcast Reading Bug Adventures.
Chris Loocke B.M. of Nolensville, TN, signed a publishing deal as songwriter with Florida Georgia Line’s publishing company, Treevibez, playing lead guitar with Chase Rice.
Sven Atterton of Penzance, England, linked up with Brian Ellis to create two relevant and atypical club anthems, “Life Sentence,” to highlight and protest police brutality in the United States, and “Driftin’ Off,” to address the prominence of depression and mental illness, and the reaction to coping with it.
Kazuhiro Uchida of Tokyo, Japan, published a CD book, Let's Prevent Dementia with Jazz Harmonized Joyful Songs, with a coauthor. It features evidence-based programs, which are sung and played simultaneously on beautiful, old Japanese songs. Visit the Facebook page Atelier Pianolab. The book is available on www.amazon.jp.
Austin Ku B.F.A. of New York, NY, is nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award in the Best Musical Theater Album category (Soft Power). Additionally, Ku’s vocal quartet’s virtual performance of “Someone in a Tree” was named by the New York Times as one of the best performances of 2020.
Nick LaGrasta B.M. of Brooklyn, NY, is one of the composers of the musical Burn All Night (world premiere at Boston's A.R.T. Oberon in August 2017). A handful of the show’s songs are now being offered as a free download at burnallnight.bandcamp.com/releases.
Sal Ojeda B.M. of Tarzana, CA, worked as sound editor and re-recording mixer on Ron Howard's Pavarotti documentary; mixed at Abbey Road Studios; and was on the sound team for Disney's Little Mermaid Live. In January 2020, Ojeda won a Golden Reel Award for work on Echo in the Canyon.
Arooj Aftab B.M. of New York, NY, is a neo-Sufi composer and singer who experiments with mystic poetry and jazz, soul, South Asian classical, and electronic music. In 2018, Aftab’s songs were among NPR's 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women+ and the New York Times 25 Best Classical Songs of 2018.
Jordan Seigel B.M. of Reseda, CA, is a composer and pianist whose debut album, Beyond Images, is a blend of jazz and film music aesthetics. It was selected as one of DownBeat‘s editor's picks.
Mario Evon Guthrie B.M. of Kingston, Jamaica, released a weekly podcast, Talk Truth with Mario Evon, where Guthrie has conversations that many are afraid to have, but from a Jamaican perspective. In this space, Guthrie inspires, educates, and entertains.
Whitney Jones B.M. of Goodyear, AZ, is releasing a new song every week for a full year as part of her project called 52, in which she writes and performs music that uplifts, inspires, and motivates people. You can find her new music live on all of her social media outlets.
Charles Van Kirk B.M. of Brooklyn, NY, traveled to Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier to record its sounds and to turn those recordings into music, as tribute to the glacier before it recedes into the ocean as a result of climate change. This project was sponsored by Splice.
Jacquelynn Ware B.M. of Pittsburgh, PA, has been working as a music educator, music therapist, and performer. Recently, she was cast in the horror movie Red Woods, to be released on streaming platforms by Free Style Digital Media throughout 2021. The North American release date is February 5.
Dennis B. Fuller B.M. of Miami, FL, has been working on the project Donzii since 2018, which has released two EPs, Mines and Gladugly (Grey Market Records). This year, Fuller released a single, “Burn,” and opened for the band New Order for two nights in Miami.
Marcus Bagala B.M. of Long Island City, NY, composed the score for Conviction: American Panic, Gimlet Media/Spotify's deeply reported documentary podcast about the true story of a family torn apart by the 1980s’ Satanic panic.
Kishan Mohan M.M. of Ernakulam, India, is working on films in India and abroad. Recently, Mohan worked on projects for Disney and Netflix, and scored the film Welcome Millions, which premiered in Laemmle's Music Hall, Los Angeles. It’s listed in the Academy Awards website as Qualified in General Category.
Alisa Apreleva B.M. of Swampscott, MA, is a music therapist who released a three-track EP, Remedywave: One, in March 2020 to help those who are dealing with anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Geoffroy Sauvé M.A. of Montreal, Canada, worked at Shutterstock Music in A&R, but left that role to pursue his solo career. Since then, he has released two LPs (Coastline in 2017 and 1952 in 2019), accumulated over 20 million streams, and is selling out venues across Canada.
Hannah Ureste B.M. of Los Angeles, CA, has been featured in Voyage LA magazine, on Visionquestsound.com, and appears on the soundtrack of the movie John Henry. She’s also journeyed off onto her own artist path, having released four singles, with the last, “HIGH," released in May.
Sarah Walk B.M. of Los Angeles, CA, released her sophomore LP, Another Me (One Little Independent Records) in August. Produced by Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Belle and Sebastian, Paul Simon), the record tackles the challenges of being a queer woman. Her debut album is Little Black Book.
Daniel Toledo M.M. of Quito, Ecuador, released a third album, Fletch, as a leader. Published in Poland, the album features Berklee classmate Piotr Orzechowski M.M. ’14, with whom he’s built a strong musical relationship. The two have made three albums together and tour Europe and the Americas.
Juan Diego Illescas M.M. of Quito, Ecuador, has spent the past five years working on a project about Latin American ancestral music. He made the documentary The Nu Latam Sound, which dives into how new wave Latin American music is influenced by traditional music. His latest project is called Huaira.
Lena Jonsson of Järvsö, Sweden, is a fiddle player whose band, the Lena Jonsson Trio, in May released a second album, Stories from the Outside, with original tunes inspired by Swedish traditional fiddle music and American old-time and bluegrass. A first album, Places (2018), was nominated for a Swedish Grammy (Grammis).
Marcus Martínez M.A. of New York, NY, discovered and developed the artist RIZ LA VIE, independently releasing his hit “Napkins,” which has over 20 million streams. The success of the record has led to a partnership with AWAL and touring in the U.S. and Europe.
Melanie Bresnan B.M. of Nashville, TN, recently released the second in a series of six recordings. The piece is titled “Don't Wanna Feel.” The next song, “Moth Wings,” released in August on all streaming platforms.
Miguel Ruiz Santos M.M. of Madrid, Spain, released the album Jazz Chamber Music with his group, Guitarinet Dúo; it’s available on all digital platforms. He is working on an album of originals, Guaroj; is a music teacher and music school director in Madrid; and is the creator of clarinetjazz.es.
Obadiah Brown-Beach M.M. of Los Angeles, CA, is a composer at Hexany Audio. In 2019, he earned a gold medal at the Global Music Awards for the score for Honor of Kings 2.0. The score was also nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award.
Trisha Hildebrandt B.M. of Sherman Oaks, CA, manages the music production (both song and score) for Disney TV Animation. They create over 500 songs a year and countless hours of underscore, all with the high-quality and timeless brand that Disney is famous for.
Alek Palmersmith B.M. ’11, M.M. ’14 of South Pasadena, CA, wrote the book Shaping Sound: A Practical Guide to Audio Effects. It takes a deep dive into all the unique ways we can process audio. The audiobook is coming soon.
Dennis D'Angelo Barretto B.M. of Sun Valley, CA, relocated his band to Los Angeles, where he’s slowly establishing himself as a performer, producer, and engineer.
Utako Toyama of Osaka, Japan, received the finalist award in the jazz category at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for a second time. She now lives in London. Her goal is to promote a message of diversity, equality, and world peace through her music and her global project band, SkyBridge.
Chua Boon Ghee B.M. of Glendale, Malaysia, produced his first movie, Crypto, which is now out on Hulu. He is also the soundtrack producer for the 2019 Oscar-shortlisted animation Upin Ipin.
Louis G. Pratt M.A. of Brooklyn, NY, landed his first adjunct professor gig at age 26. Pratt hopes to teach at Berklee someday.
Ana Espinosa of Mexico City, Mexico, released her new album under artist name Vondré. She has toured Mexico, been endorsed by Fender, and been featured in music magazines such as Rolling Stone. Vondré has also been ranked on Apple Music’s Rock in Spanish list and Spotify's rock playlists.
Bruna Lucchesi M.M. of São Paulo, Brazil, recently released a video session of “Energia Solar,” an unpublished song by the Brazilian poet and songwriter Paulo Leminski. This is her first release since her debut EP, BLÄR, available on all streaming platforms.
Federico Masetti B.M. of Rome, Italy, is the founder/CEO of MusicXChange, a nonprofit project to preserve traditional music on the African continent through field recording and music therapy. Latest release and more info on www.musicxchange.ngo.
Felipe Saalfeld M.A. of Santiago, Chile, has been in the music business for seven years. He’s worked as a senior analyst at Live Nation Madrid and in the booking department at Lotus Producciones, one of the largest live-entertainment promoters in Chile. Saalfeld is currently writing a full-concept album.
John A. Davis M.M. of Pegram, United Kingdom, is featured on “Blush” by A’Rose; “DAMN” by Jon Doe; “Larry’s Reign” by Lord Goldie; and “Dirty Mouth” and “Liar” by Meghan & Caitlin. He’s working on a follow-up EP to the one he wrote for his culminating experience in Valencia.
Jon Shen of Hong Kong, China, published his first album Sole Divinity and promoted the album while on a multicity tour with his band. As an independent musician, almost every part of the production process is done by Shen.
Robert Cooper M.M. of Menlo Park, CA, works as a mix tech on TV shows (Legacies, Roswell New Mexico, Magnum PI, and Watchmen) and feature films (The Captain, Like a Boss, 6 Underground, and Sonic the Hedgehog). He’s proficient with the Avid System 6 and experienced with Dolby Atmos.
Simona Smirnova is a New York–based Lithuanian jazz vocalist, zitherist, and composer. Her string quartet scored the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, and her jazz quartet project, Bird Language, which blends bird sounds and vocal techniques, went on tour in early 2020 in Australia and New Zealand.
Jacori Robinson of Euless, TX, drums for Norman Brown, Gail Johnson, Redbone, Myron Butler, and Taboo (The Black Eyed Peas). Robinson was a top 5 finalist in the 2016 Lee Ritenour Six String Theory Competition. In 2018, he started drumming for the show I Am King: The Michael Jackson Experience.
Justin Sheriff B.M. of Boston, MA, is a mixing engineer of 10 years, working at Cybersound. He recorded, mixed, and mastered “Ashes'' by Stellar, which went viral on TikTok, and made Spotify’s US Viral 50 and Global Viral 50 lists. He’s worked with Lauv, DMX, Run-D.M.C., and others.
Sassan Mohebbi M.M. of Vienna, Austria, did the music for the movie Hafis und Goethe, which won the Best Music Award among 100 films submitted for the TAC International Film Festival 2020 in the U.S.
Felipe Tellez Fina M.M. of Toronto, Canada, was a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto in 2020. Fina premiered “Vocalise” for mezzo-soprano with the University of Toronto Symphony as resident composer at the university. Fina taught orchestration at Sheridan College and recorded with the Budapest Art Orchestra.
GaYoung Bae B.M. ‘16, M.M.’16 of Seoul, South Korea, released her first album, Sepia Painting, in August. It has five original compositions, and features members of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Bae. Songs are based on traditional Korean rhythm mixed with jazz and traditional Korean music.
Mike Benj of Boston, MA, completed an East Coast tour with up and coming guitarist Quinn Sullivan. He was also on a separate tour in Europe, and is currently working on various music projects that will be released in the near future.
Niklaus Vogel M.M. of Thun, Switzerland, is a producer and composer working with top Swiss pop acts. He also contributes music for the Konzert Theater Bern; works as a sound programmer and violinist for the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra; and has started a music production company, ArtConceptCollective.
Nitish Kulkarni M.M. of Forty Wayne, IN, has made a name for himself as one of the most successful young sales engineers at Sweetwater. Kulkarni has also released a number of albums, EPs, and a viral music video.
Roochay Shukla M.A. of Mumbai, India, is a marketing manager at Outdustry India, a leading music-industry services company. Shukla runs marketing and promotions in India for an ever-growing client roster including Dua Lipa, Lauv, Major Lazer, Diplo, and Flume, and has moderated panels on the Indian music market at international conferences.
Sam Reti B.M. of Castle Rock, CO, in 2016 started a company in the Start Up Lab at Berklee offering practice tools for musicians. It launched its second product, Muzie.Live, and now offers on-demand music lessons for students nationwide while providing flexible job opportunities for music teachers everywhere.
Weston Guidero B.M. of Los Angeles, CA, has recorded, mixed, and mastered for various L.A.–based artists, singer-songwriters, and rappers.
Bengisu Onal B.M. of Turkey released her third Turkish single, "Bir Dost Bulamadim.” She created a modern and electronic arrangement of the song with her mentor, Omer Ahunbay, and producer, Ugurcan Sezen, with the team of Jingle House in Turkey. She released her U.S. debut album in 2020.
Dominic Delore B.M. of Cambrdige, MA, taught a master class at Full Sail University in 2019 on ways to use iZotope, Vocal Synth 2, and RX 7 creatively in different types of music production. Each of these programs is used throughout the music industry.
Ernie Bird of Astoria, NY, and Gabrielle Mirabella are proud to share their musical women's history podcast, What Will She Do Next? Each episode explores the life of one great woman using Broadway-style storytelling. Past guests include Matt Lucas (GBBO) and Wicked's Kara Lindsay.
Jessie Cox B.M. of Brooklyn, NY, released a new record with Cox’s duo, Transsonus, on Gold Bolus Recordings, titled Weaving Music in April 2020. It moves across a wide gamut of unexpected sonic terrains. Cox also performed at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival and opened for Patti LaBelle.
Johann Audiffren M.M. of Paris, France, is a project manager and A&R representative at Naïve Records, which has released albums by Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Noa, Souad Massi, Susheela Raman, Biréli Lagrène, etc.
John Varkados B.M. of Decatur, GA, was the producer and unit production manager for the full-length feature Anthology of Julius, which is set for a theatrical release in 2021. The production consisted of 18 shoot days in 16 locations with 70 actors and 34 crew, and five months of preproduction.
Joshua Wheatley B.M. ’16, M.M. ’17 of Valencia, Spain, is in his third year teaching at Berklee Valencia and is the core music tutor on campus. He’s released two albums: Crisis in 2017, and Intuition in 2019. Wheatley, with the band ACT, won the grand prize at the Johnny Raducanu Festival in Romania. Visit @jwheatleymusic.
Sean Goldman M.M. of Richmond Hill, Canada, released his latest feature film score, for Quo Vadis 2020, on major streaming platforms. Pablo Schuller did the mastering. Goldman also scored an award-winning short film, 8, available on Amazon Prime Video. That soundtrack garnered him a few best score nominations.
Sofía Paola B.M. of Annapolis, MD, is a singer-songwriter whose debut single, “De Las Manos,” released in November. Prior to recording her own music, Paola sang “Lines in Her Palms” on Alper Tuzcu’s EP and cowrote “Azúcar o Sal,” featured on the telenovela Doña Flor y Sus Dos Maridos.
Stephanie James B.M. of Glendale, CA, released her debut album, Unbreakable, in collaboration with Jorel Corpus ’13 and Simone Torres B.M. ’15. It explores vulnerability, self-reliance, growing up, and learning from the past. James hopes to empower her listeners to discover that we are all “unbreakable.”
Jonathan Sanson B.M. of Fort Worth, TX, graduated from Berklee after 33 years by completing his bachelor’s degree in 2017. He finished his master’s in interdisciplinary studies (music education, education psychology, and learning technologies) at the University of North Texas in spring 2020.
Ana Krstajic M.M. of Belgrade, Serbia, is working as an assistant to Nemanja Mosurovic, writing music, orchestrating, and arranging for various TV, film, and advertisement projects. She is also a lead composer at Devotion Studios, which is working on a new game, Heroic; and composed her debut contemporary ballet, MARKO.
Devin Kennedy of Los Angeles performed at Elvis Duran’s Stay At Home Ball to promote his singles “Happy Yet” and “No Parachute.” He won Hollywood Music in Media’s Best New Emerging Artist award, amassed over 1.8 million streams, and sold out his debut show at L.A.’s Peppermint Club.
Fabian Kratzer M.M. of Nuremberg, Germany, has released two singles and an album since leaving Berklee: “In Between” in 2019, “Entre les Deux” in 2018, and Über Grenzen in 2018.
Juan Carlos Cardenas B.M. of New York, NY, is the copyright coordinator at Sony Music, focusing on rights clearances and licensing for Sony Latin and Sony Nashville. He was appointed president of the Sony Emerging Professionals Board and serves as the co-chair of the Education Through Music's Development Board.
Kelsey Joanne Rogers B.M. ’16, M.M. ’18 of Durban, South Africa, is a full-time composer at Tune Roads, working with clients around the world in an array of styles and with many different forms of media.
Lauren Jaimes of Brooklyn, NY, is a country artist and released her debut music video and accompanying single “Home Is Where You Are” in 2020. The video is an exciting one-shot performance that complements the song’s nostalgic, dreamy vintage Western vibe.
Martina Blazheska B.M. of Leipzig, Germany, toured Europe as one of the main faces for Ibanez Guitars. After that, she became an artist for Laney Amplification, was on the cover of the biggest lifestyle magazine in Macedonia, and was featured in the most popular European music magazines.
Mouhannad Nasser M.M. of Berlin, Germany, received three production awards to produce his album Al Hamra, which is a combination of Arabic, flamenco, and jazz music, recorded with some of the best musicians in the Spanish flamenco and jazz scenes. He plans to tour the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Nehir Akansu M.M. of Valencia, Spain, is in a Ph.D. program at the University Polytechnic Valencia. Akansu often collaborates with fellow artists Natalyd Altamirano, Sara Willa, Eva Florez, and Cienfuegos Danza, and participates in festivals of contemporary art, such as Intramurs and Cabanyal Intim.
Sergio Martín M.M. of Barranquilla, Columbia, is full-time faculty at Universidad del Norte, and leads and produces music projects. He will always thank Berklee for getting the best out of him, and wants to inspire more people to be the best they can be.
Claire Marie Lim B.M. of Astoria, NY, is a music technologist and has recently become a certified trainer with Berlin-based music company Ableton. As a live experience designer and educator, she is the first woman of color to have this highly competitive designation in the United States.
Soo Wincci M.M. of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, completed her master’s degree and fellowship at Berklee Valencia. She is working on her second Ph.D. in Spain to do artists production research, while also helping bands produce new music, giving motivational talks, shooting TV shows, and launching her second book.
David LoCascio B.M. ’17, M.M. ’19 of Bosco Mesola, Italy, has been touring, producing, arranging, and serving as an educator in the U.S., Italy, and Germany. His dream is to share his acquired knowledge with those who want to change their life through music.
Hillel Teplitzki M.M. of Los Angeles, CA, was awarded a fellowship to pursue an internship, which allowed them to meet their idols. They scored an award-winning feature, became the lead composer for the company ExNi Games, and is an assistant for the award-winning composer Inon Zur.
Hugo Herber M.M. of Meersburg, Germany, is a recording engineer as well as mixing and mastering producer for Mike Casey’s upcoming album and song “Venus.”
Luke Norris M.M. of Bethpage, NY, released his debut recording, "Northernsong," a musical reflection of his years spent living in upstate New York and coming to terms with his musical identity. It features original music for jazz quartet and includes fellow BGJI alumnus Tyrone Allen M.M. ’18.
Michael Gelberg M.A. of Brooklyn, NY, joined Sony Music’s Partner Development Department as the lead analyst focused on Amazon Music and Pandora. He gets to crunch huge amounts of streaming data and help drive the macro conversation for Sony and its artist community.
Michela McDonagh B.M. of Glen Head, NY, who goes by the artist name MHIC, debuted her first single, “FEAR,” available on all streaming platforms. Written while sheltering in place during Covid-19, “FEAR” is an electronic ballad about the millennial struggle with anxiety.
Rahul Raj Thankappan M.M. of Kochi, India, scored an Indian Malayalam-language epic film set in the 16th century and directed by the legendary Indian director Priyadarshan. The director happened to see Thankappan’s London Orchestra video (Berklee final project) on YouTube, and invited him to score the movie.
Rayhan Ahmed M.A. of Dibrugarh, India, is employed as business development lead at publishing company PopArabia, in Dubai. Ahmed looks forward to doing great things in music business and wishes Berklee and its students and alums great success in the future.
Zuleimi Guerra M.M. of Salamanca, Spain, released a new album, El viaje, with the Cuban record label EGREM. Guerra also works as a voice and piano teacher at Escuela de Música y Artes Escénicas Monk and books concerts in Spain to promote her career outside of Cuba.
Aliya Cycon B.M. ’16, M.M. ’19, of Valencia, Spain, created a music video, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, to honor the 30th anniversary of Kuwait's liberation. The video features Cycon’s arrangement of the Kuwaiti national song, “Kullama Zadat al-Mihan,” and several Kuwaiti musicians.
Nano Raies B.M. of New York, NY, released a cover of the song “The Prayer” in commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the Syrian civil war. She hopes the song will shed light on the plight of the 5.6 million Syrian refugees and 6 million displaced Syrians.
Abram Lembono of Bandung, Indonesia, is an artist-producer by the name of ABRAM, and has released two albums, and 22 singles, receiving more than 3 million streams on digital music platforms. Lembono won the Silver Medal Award at the 2019 AES Awards, and is working with Warner Music Indonesia.
Evan Kesel B.M. of Portsmouth, NH, has been recording drums and percussion for artists worldwide. Since being signed by Paiste Cymbals in 2019, he has worked with composer Mike Thompson, vocalist Anoushka Kotak, the Tinder Sweethearts, Corrina Tadros, and more.
Kelly Riley B.M. of Lynn, MA, is an award-winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and instructor. She’s opened for Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett, and her songs have been in TV and internet series and commercials. She performs with the Kelly Riley Band and Porch Party Mamas.