The August 30 convocation welcomed this semester’s entering students, including addresses from alumnus and keynote speaker James Morales ’06, student Ryfer Cohen, and staff Betsy Newman, Jay Kennedy, Larry Simpson and Roger H. Brown.
Casey Driessen ’00 has been named as the director of the master’s degree program in contemporary performance with production concentration at the Valencia campus. Driessen has gained renown playing five-string fiddle on tours by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Tim O’Brien, and Darrell Scott.
In early August, with his single “See You Again” from the Furious 7 movie soundtrack still perched near the top of the Hot 100 (where it spent 12 weeks at number one), singer/songwriter Charlie Puth ‘13 returned to campus to talk to students enrolled the summer program.
Watching assistant professor Vessela Stoyanova ’00 perform live with her band Bury Me Standing, one realizes that she is probably the only faculty member whose style blends elements of traditional Balkan vocal music, punk, and odd meters. Oh, and she plays it all on a MIDI-controlled marimba...
Assistant professor Vadim Neselovskyi and his Agricultural Dreams Trio recorded a new CD featuring Gary Burton. Neselovskyi appears on another album with Arkady Shilkloper, and completed a residency at the MacDowell Colony. Visit seriousmusicmedia.com.
Associate professor Ben Sher gave a masterclass on fretboard harmony in July at Berklee’s Valencia Campus for master’s degree program guitar students.
Film composer Andrew Simon McAllister creates music in a range of styles for dramatic features, documentaries, and video games, including Shooting for Socrates, the Planet of the Apemen miniseries, the BBC World War I drama 37 Days, and MTV’s My Super Sweet 16.
Paolo Cognetti MM’13 of Firenze, Italy is a freelance pianist and the in-house composer for L’Officina Sonora Bigallo studios, working on a range of projects. He recently took second place in a composition contest and had his winning orchestral piece premiered on Italian national TV and radio in August.
Singer/songwriter Holt Vaughn of Orchard Park, NY, released the album These Songs, Vol. 1, featuring Phil Keaggy, Will McFarlane, Ashley Cleveland, Rick Cua, Jerry Livingston, Tony Morra, and Ted Reinhardt. Visit holtvaughn.com.