John Cieslak ’58 of Scottsdale, AZ, passed away on May 19. He was 81. A lifelong musician, Cieslak played several instruments and had worked with Guy Mitchell, Harry James, and Wayne Newton. As a bandleader, he had been a mainstay at venues in Scottsdale. He leaves his wife, Cecile Cieslak.
Gordon Homann of Framingham, MA, died unexpectedly on July 14. He was 53. Homann had worked as the director of international student services for both Berklee and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Homann was a strong advocate for international students and helped to create the Music and English Intensive Program to help international students get the appropriate English language training. He leaves his wife Michiko and daughter Mia.
Lavine Hudson ’83 of London, England, died in April after a long battle with lupus. She was 55. Hudson was a renowned gospel singer and songwriter in England and had recorded two albums for Virgin Records.
Matthew Marvuglio ’74 passed away after a long illness on August 4. Marvuglio joined the Berklee faculty in 1974 and became chair of the woodwind department in 1988. In 1996 he was promoted to dean of the Professional Performance Division and is the longest-serving dean in the history of the college. During his 21-year tenure as a dean, he oversaw many significant academic programs and curriculum changes, including implementing a master’s degree program in performance at the Boston and Valencia campuses. A virtuosic flute player, he performed and presented clinics throughout the world and wrote numerous articles on jazz flute performance. He also penned a book of flute études and the workbook for Berklee’s traditional harmony courses. He leaves his wife, Mia, and sons Michael and David.
Word has reached us that John W. Koessler III ’93, of Derby, NY, died May 13, 2016. He was 65. He had worked as the plant manager for Greater Buffalo Press for 18 years, and upon retiring, he enrolled at Berklee. Until recently he was a professional pianist. He leaves his wife, Ellen Carney; two daughters, and a son.
Guitarist John Abercrombie ’67 died of heart failure on August 22 in Cortlandt Manor, NY. He was 72. Abercrombie got his start in the 1970s playing with Johnny (Hammond) Smith, Chico Hamilton, Gato Barbieri, Ralph Towner, and Billy Cobham. He released a number of influential albums as a leader for the ECM label, including Timeless, his first in 1975 with Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette. His latest ECM album, Up and Coming, was released earlier this year. He leaves his wife of 31 years, Lisa Abrams.
Drummer John Blackwell ’95 of Tampa, FL, died on July 4 after battling a brain tumor. He was 43. Blackwell is best known for his 15-year tenure recording and touring with Prince. He had also played with Justin Timberlake, Maceo Parker, Lauryn Hill, and Patti LaBelle among many others. He leaves his wife Yaritza Cambero Blackwell, two daughters, and a son. His first-born daughter, Jia Blackwell, preceded him in death after a drowning accident in 2004.
Dr. Warrick L. Carter died on July 14 at his home in Sanford, FL, after a struggle with cancer. He was 75. Carter came to Berklee in 1984 as the dean of faculty, and later served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. He left Berklee in 1996 to the become director of entertainment arts for Walt Disney Entertainment in Orland, FL. In 2000, he was named as the president of Columbia College in Chicago and served there until his retirement in 2013. He was a two-time recipient of the National Black Music Caucus Achievement Award and entered the International Association for Jazz Educators Hall of Fame in 1996. He leaves his wife, Laurel; daughter Keisha; and grandchildren.