Alumni Affairs/See All BT IssuesBerklee Today Summer 2016

A Magazine for Contemporary Music and Musicians

Regional Spotlights

David Rosenthal ’81: Music director and keyboardist for the Piano Man for 23 Years and counting

By Curtis Killian

Billy Joel’s music director and keyboardist since 1993, David Rosenthal ’81 prodigious career as keyboardist, producer, orchestrator and synth programmer includes work with Rainbow, Happy the Man and Steve Vai. Listen to the full Sounds of Berklee podcast interview here.

WesFest Tribute 11.0

By Peter Gordon

The power of music to honor the memory of composer, bassist, and photographer Wes Wehmiller ’92 was on full display March 6 at the Baked Potato in Studio City, California. The annual WesFest tribute reached new heights as music and Wehmiller’s spirit filled the club during this memorable...

L.A. Newsbriefs

By Justine Taormino

Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list recently included Los Angeles-based video game developer Riot Games, debuting at number 13. Currently, six Berklee alumni work there as members of Riot’s audio/music team.

Keyboard Voyager

By Peter Gordon

A profile on the career of L.A. keyboardist extraordinaire John Novello ’73.

Here, There, Everywhere

A slideshow of recent alumni happenings around the globe.

Berklee Beat

Alumni Featured at International Jazz Day

On April 29, President and Michelle Obama hosted an all-star concert at the White House for the fifth annual International Jazz Day celebration. Berklee was well represented among the performers, which included headliners Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Kurt Elling, Pat Metheny, Chick...

Hip-hop Offerings to Expand

Dance performer, choreographer, and hip-hop scholar Duane Lee Holland Jr. is the first full-time faculty member to be hired to teach at both the Boston Conservatory and Berklee following the merger of the two institutions.

Honoring the Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Nashville-based Fisk University has a storied history as one of the nation’s leading black colleges. On February 21, Fisk celebrated its 150th anniversary. As part of Berklee’s Signature Series, a commemorative concert was held at Boston’s Symphony Hall and paid tribute to the university and...

Taking It to the House

From the left: Steve Ruchefsky, Michael Gaisbacher ’15, Jake Howard ’17, Carolyn Kendrick ’16, Livingston Taylor, Emma Ruchefsky ’19, and Rondi Charleston. In April, Steve Ruchefsky and Rondi Charleston, parents of Berklee student Emma Ruchefsky, hosted a gathering at their home in...

Stars Perform at Hal Crook’s Send-Off Concert

After a 30-year teaching career at Berklee, professor Hal Crook celebrated his last semester with a February 18 concert of original music in the Berklee Performance Center with some of his most illustrious former students.

Sony Music U.S. Latin President Discusses Labels, Artists

Students recently packed the David Friend Recital Hall to catch some music business wisdom from Nir Seroussi ’96, president of Sony Music U.S. Latin. Seroussi came to Berklee’s campus to deliver the keynote for the 23rd annual James G. Zafris Lecture for Music Business/Management.

Looking Back a Half Century

On May 28, 1966, Berklee’s first graduating class totaled 16, with 13 grads receiving bachelor of music degrees in either music education or composition. Fifty years later, the 2016 class numbered 952 graduates who earned degrees and diplomas in a dozen different majors.

Commencement 2016 Is a Rap

On Friday, May 6, the audience at Boston University’s Agganis Arena was abuzz. Anticipation was high for Berklee’s annual commencement concert in which 124 graduating seniors paid tribute to this year’s honorees Rita Moreno, Lucian Grainge, The Isley Brothers, and Milton Nascimento.

The Woodshed

Rumba: A Gateway to Flamenco

Kai Narezo ’99 provides tips on using the rumba as an accessible pathway into the world of flamenco, with video and notated examples.

Expert Testimony

Donny McCaslin '88 at the Regattabar, January 27, 2016

Expert Testimony: Final Sessions with a Legend

Donny McCaslin ’88 shares his insight into the recording process on David Bowie's Blackstar, and how he and his jazz quartet came to be enlisted by the legend on what would become his 25th and final album.


Copyright Matters

Any discussion about the music industry of today (and of the future), inevitably leads to a certain theme: copyright law and its role in the digital age and new music industry economy. Whether we’re speaking about songwriters, recording artists, record labels, publishers, digital service...


Recorded Music Is the Most Valuable

David Newhoff, a writer and consultant living in New York, ponders the state of recorded music, adapted from his blog at

Lead Sheet

Designing a Culture of Career Mindedness

Betsy Newman, senior vice president for student enrollment and engagement, covers Berklee’s vision for 2025 and the recently launched process to develop a career strategy to help the college advance its commitment to students and alumni to fully realize their artistic, creative, and career potential.


Entrepreneurship Is the Watchword

Established in 2014, the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) is designed to inspire, educate, and launch the next generation of creative musicians and entrepreneurs.

Scholarships: Investing in Extraordinary Students Who Need Support

By Cindy Albert Link / Jessica Halton

A spotlight on supporters of Berklee's Soundbreaking campaign toward addressing challenges currently facing students.

Faculty Highlights

by Mark Small

Wendy Rolfe

During her 29 years in Berklee’s Woodwind Department, professor Wendy Rolfe has carved out a multidimensional musical path. She was the first woman the department hired in 1987, and since that time, she has guided countless flute students through the intricacies of technique and repertoire.

Professor Bill Banfield was a member of the panel of judges for the Pulitzer Prize in music that awarded a Pulitzer to composer Henry Threadgill for his epic work In for a Penny, In for a Pound. Threadgill is the first composer using the jazz language to receive the prestigious award. Banfield also penned the books Ethnomusicoligizing and Pat Patrick: American Musicians and Cultural Visionary.

In May, professor Joe Mulholland released the CD Runaway Train with backing from professor Bob Tamagni (drums), and Bob Nieske (bass).

Alumni News

by Ron Reid

Jacques Schwartz-Bart

Talk with Jacques Schwarz-Bart ’94, and you’ll find yourself captivated by his passion for French-Caribbean roots music and his dedication to exploring the mystery of his native Guadeloupe’s gwo ka tradition and the spirituality of Haitian music. In this quest he has found his artistic...

Julia Hoffman ’15 of Berlin, Germany, is working in the artist management division of Jackmode Agency, developing the global careers of renowned techno and house DJs and producers.

Paul Sciaba of Wakefield, MA, released the album Rhythm Changesfeaturing acoustic guitar treatments of jazz and pop standards. He performs with Cool Change around greater Boston.