Janet Haas of Roslindale, MA, died January 9 after a brief battle with brain cancer. She was 59. Haas was an assistant professor in the Music Education Department between 2007 and 2018. “A highly respected member of the string world, she was humble and cared about all her students, from the beginner to the most accomplished players. Her wit and passion will be missed,” says Cecil Adderley, the department’s chair. Haas taught string methods at Berklee and also taught in the Lexington Public Schools for 30 years. She leaves her husband, Eric; daughter, Amelia; brother, Mark; and mother, Lucy.
Patt Casion B.M. ’88 of Monterey, CA, died December 31 after a two-year battle with cancer. She was 55. A gospel and jazz soprano saxophonist, Casion was a versatile instrumentalist who led a music collective called IOC. She leaves her husband, James; three children, James Jr., Jamila, and Ayana; and two grandchildren.
Bob Freedman ’71 of Scottsdale, AZ, died December 22. He was 94. Freedman was a faculty member at Berklee from September 1982 through June 1985, and chair of the Commercial Arranging Department (now Contemporary Writing and Production) from June 1985 to August 1992. He was a highly accomplished pianist, saxophonist, and Grammy-winning arranger who orchestrated for Sarah Vaughan, Harry Belafonte, and Herb Pomeroy’s band, and wrote the theme music for ABC's Monday Night Football. He leaves his wife, Tori; his son, Robert; daughter, Melissa; stepdaughters Laura, Heather, and Kellie; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Roger Neumann ’67 of Los Angeles died November 28. He was 77. A saxophonist as well as a respected arranger, composer, and studio musician, Neumann worked with artists Michael Bublé, Barbra Streisand, Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Benny Carter, and Ray Charles, among others. He leaves his wife, vocalist Madeline Vergari Neumann, and their children, Rico and Gina.
Ralph Fava ’81 of Lockport, NY, died October 9 after a 13-month battle with brain cancer. He was 64. As owner and director of Lockport Music Center for the past 33 years, Fava was a masterful jazz guitarist who shared his love of music with his students. He was a member of the Lockport Federation of Musicians Local 97 who advocated for musicians’ compensation. He leaves his wife of 39 years, Kathleen; two daughters, Katherine and Bailey; and siblings Christopher, Joseph, and Tamre.
Ernest Joseph Adzentoivich B.M. ’92 of Saratoga, CA, died August 13 after a long illness. He was 49. As the proprietor of Adzentoivich Music, he was a composer and music engineer for Dead & Company, Fall Out Boy, and other artists. In 2008, he received the Henry Mancini Music Scholarship from the ASCAP Foundation. Adzentoivich leaves his wife, Nancy, and sons Vladimir, Waylon, and Silas.
Steve Young ’68 of Woodland Park, NJ, died March 3. He was 71. Young taught at Berklee from 1974 to 1989, and was active in the Boston music scene and American Federation of Musicians. Young was married to the late Karen Young. He leaves his son, Oliver; his granddaughter, Audrey; and his companion, Martha Learner.
Carla Whitney Nelson '18 of Berlin, Germany, passed away February 11. She was 24. She approached her life with lung cancer just as she did before her diagnosis: with spirit, bravery, determination, and compassion. “As the year of her diagnosis went by, Carla continued to sing, write, record, kid around, and act healthier than many disease-free people,” Professor Donna McElroy remembers. In September 2018, Nelson was awarded an Honorary Artist's Diploma. She was a member of the Jubilee Spirit and J Dilla ensembles. She leaves her parents, Peter and Melissa; her sister, Rebecca; her brother, Philip; and countless friends. They will forever remember her for her kindness, dimples, spunk, and joy.
Debra Mann Morton ’82 of Riverside, RI, died January 31. She was 59. Mann Morton, an acclaimed jazz pianist, taught music at Brown University and Wheaton College and performed extensively. She leaves her husband of 24 years, Donald Morton; two sons, Joshua and Benjamin; mother, Beverly Mann Paris; and two brothers, Gary and Ron.
Joe Hostetter of Arlington, MA, died January 26 after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 79. Hostetter was a faculty member at Berklee between 1966 and 1997, teaching the college’s first audio recording class and helping to install its first recording facilities. He chaired the Audio Recording Department (now Music Production and Engineering), which he helped to create, from 1979 to 1983. He leaves his son, Andrew, and his grandchild, Heidi. His wife of 40 years, Kinue, died in 2014.