Alumnotes

Class of 1969

Jazz accordionist Lou Romano of Red Hook, NY, released the CD Funin February. The album is dedicated to saxophonist Carmen Leggio and teachers Anthony Mecca and Herb Pomeroy. It’s available at cdbaby.com/cd/louromano.

Class of 1971

Saxophonist Greg Abate of Coventry, RI, was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame on April 21 for making significant contributions to the national and Rhode Island music scenes. Down Beat magazine recently gave his album Kindred Spirits Live at Chan’s, featuring the late Phil Woods, a four-star review.

Scott Strunk of Hillsborough, NJ, presented a TEDx talk called “Finding the Groove,” about using drumming in everyday life. Visit scottstrunk.com.

Class of 1977

Tony Corman of Berkeley, CA, and his jazz orchestra the Morchestra, appeared with guest artists Roger Glenn (vibes and woodwinds) at the California Jazz Conservatory in January. The group features Bay-area jazz stalwarts. Visit Morchestra on Facebook.

Class of 1978

Saxophonist and composer Guri Agmon of Tel Aviv, Israel, was awarded the Prime Minister Prize for Jazz Composers in 2015. Agmon is a founder and current academic director of the Rimon School of Music, Israel’s leading jazz, pop and rock school.

Composer and pianist Emil Viklicky of Prague, Czech Republic, composed a concerto for clarinet that was premiered by Ludmila Peterková in April. He released the jazz duet CD Afterdark with trumpeter Miroslav Hloucal. Visit viklicky.com.

Guitarist Josh Sklair of Culver City, CA, released the album AfterHours featuring music he composed in the early Blue Note Records vein for the documentary Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum. Visit joshsklair.com.

Class of 1979

Michael Wenslow of North Hollywood, CA, is a vice president at Bank of America. He has recently formed the WenslowShear Jazz Orchestra with trumpeter Howie Shear, and he is planning a recording.

Laura Perlman of Los Angeles, CA, has released Precious Moments, an album of jazz standards arranged by Bill Cunliffe and featuring top jazz musicians. Perlman overcame breast cancer and, recently, treatment for a rare blood disease to make this dream album.

Class of 1980

Singer/songwriter Lynn Biddick of La Crosse, WI, released a new album titled Everybody’s Blue, her second for Momentous Records. On it, Biddick sings and plays piano, mountain dulcimer, and harmonium. Visit www.lynnbiddick.com

Class of 1981

Brass player and vocalist Dennis Keating of Briarcliff Manor, NY, is playing with several ensembles throughout the New York area, including performances in “Satchmo,” his tribute show to Louis Armstrong.

Class of 1982

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.

Class of 1983

Matthew Cahoon of Allston, MA, and his dark pop electronica project Everpresent released the EP Omega Point and the video “Hypnotic” internationally. Cahoon headlines at various Boston venues. Visit everpresent.org.

Jody Espina of Savannah, GA, the founder and president of JodyJazz Inc., recently traveled to Cuba to meet with leading Cuban saxophonists Michel Herrera and Cesar Lopez to show them the saxophone mouthpieces his company manufactures. Visit jodyjazz.com.

Class of 1984

Ray DiVirgilio of Newark, NJ, is a music teacher at St. John the Beloved School in Wilmington, DE. His middle school jazz ensemble recently performed at the University of Delaware Jazz Festival.

Composer Joel Goodman of Topanga, CA, composed the music for three documentary films that aired this spring. Everything Is Copy, catalogs the life of reporter, novelist, and playwright Nora Ephron, aired on HBO on March 21. Obit, chronicles the work of writers at the New York Times that pen obituaries for cultural icons, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17. Spectres of the Shoah, recounts the challenges French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann faced while making his nine-hour epic film Shoah about the Holocaust, aired on May 2 on HBO.

Drummer Rob Hart of Hayward, CA, leads the Rob Hart Trio, which released the album 3000 Realms of 10 Worlds. View his instructional drum videos at youtube.com/robharttrio.

Class of 1986

Guitarist and composer Kevin Kastning of Groton, MA, and woodwind player Carl Clements released the album A Far Reflectionfeaturing 11 original compositions. Kastning also released the solo album Skyfields.

Class of 1987

Jeffrey Weinberger of Liberty, ME, published a three-volume book of etudes for fingerstyle ukulele, which is available on Amazon. He teaches at Bay Chamber Music School in Rockport, ME, and runs the Belfast Guitar and Ukulele Workshop. He performs locally with the band People of Earth.

Class of 1988

Vocalist Kelly Wildowsky of Lompoc, CA, released an album of original blues and rock tunes titled Blues Prophecy. It is available on CD Baby.

Class of 1989

Flugelhornist and composer Dmitri Matheny of Oakland, CA, released Jazz Noir, his 11th album as a leader, in February. It features classic movie themes, standards, and two original tunes. Visit dmitrimatheny.com.

Class of 1990

Trombonist Tomomi Taniguchi of Minamisuzuhara, Japan, the director of the Kyoto Composers Jazz Orchestra, released the album Today’s Lineup featuring standards and original works by several composers, including professor Scott Free ’75.

Class of 1992

Gary Benson of Cotati, CA, launched the KickStrap drum accessory by Benson Music, which was featured at NAMM. It keeps a bass drum and/or hi-hat from sliding without the use of a carpet. Visit thekickstrap.com.

Class of 1994

Arthur Lynn of Miami, FL, is producing international singer Dani Shotgun. Lynn has worked with Roy Thomas Baker, Carlos Alomar, Bob Ludwig, Steve Thompson, Lana Del Rey, Wendy Starland, and others.

Michael J. Perez of Guam, was named vice president and ebanking department manager for the Bank of Guam.

Class of 1995

Richard Johnson of Queens, NY, is the Jazz at Lincoln Center global ambassador for the Middle East and books talent for Dizzy’s Club in Doha, Qatar. He also teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Percussionist Taku Hirano of New York City performed on the Grammy Awards broadcast in February for a Lionel Richie tribute that featured John Legend, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Nicki Minaj, and Lionel Richie.

Class of 1996

Anne Kessler of Mount Laurel, NJ, is the owner and director of the Curtain Call Performing Arts Center near Philadelphia. Her students received the Excellence in Music award at the 2016 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, GA. Visit curtaincallpac.com.

Class of 1997

Fabian Lim and Joshua Wan ’89 of Singapore and their band the Steve McQueens released the album Seamonster on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.

Accordionist and composer Victor Prieto of New York City released The Three Voices, his fifth album as a leader. It combines Tuvan singing, Celtic music, and Latin jazz styles. He also recently performed with Yo-Yo Ma and Cristina Pato on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Visit victorprieto.net.

Drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Esperanza Spalding ’05 were featured in a live-music scene in the movie Miles Ahead, a biopic about trumpeter Miles Davis starring Don Cheadle.

Class of 1998

Drummer Joe DeRose of San Jose, CA, and his quintet Joe DeRose and Amici have posted a live performance of the tune “Nick’s Legacy.” Visit youtube.com/watch?v=25lAgefUDI8.

Bassist Antonio Gandía of Pennsauken, NJ, collaborated with Colombian percussionist and producer Danilo Gossain ’96, pianist Justo Morao ’97 and drummer Ippei Morofuji ’97 on the album Chillociraptor. Visit chillocihillociraptor.com.

Soren Sorensen of Providence, RI, the director of the documentary My Father’s Vietnam, won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival. It was released in video format on-demand platforms and a DVD will follow.

Class of 1999

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen of Tel Aviv, Israel, recently played with his jazz quartet at the Regattabar in Cambridge. He will return to the area in September with his band Triveni for the show The Checkout—Live at Berklee, a concert broadcast from the Red Room by New York radio station WGBO.

Nicole Luzaich of Palos Verdes, CA, is a member of the rock band Sukha with guitarist Michael Vanier ’00, pianist Peter Stolzman Gray ’99, and percussionist Tripp Dudley ’05. The band released the album Rise in March.

Guitarist and composer Daniel Oliva of São Paulo, Brazil, released his debut album Solar, featuring a blend of influences in songs and instrumental pieces. Visit soundcloud.com/daniel-oliva-solar.

David Laborier of Luxembourg played guitar and arranged three songs on Angélique Kidjo’s Grammy-winning album Sings, recorded with Orchestre Philharmonique Luxembourg. Visit labojazz.com.

Drummer Sean Noonan of New York City released the album Memorable Sticks featuring Alexis Marcelo (piano) and Marc Bitenc (bass). Visit seannoonanmusic.com.

Class of 2000

Guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil of Arlington, MA, has released the CD Chromatic Dialogues featuring Tony Grey ’04 (bass), Mauricio Zottarelli ’02 (drums), Vardan Ovsepian ’04 (keyboards), and Jose Pienasola ’00 (bass). Visit gustavoassisbrasil.com.

Saxophonist Bob Reynolds of Los Angeles, CA, released a new music video on YouTube titled “Blues for Charlie.” He has also rereleased his first EP, The Bob Reynolds Quartet, which he made 16 years ago as a Berklee student. Visit bobreynoldsmusic.com.

Class of 2001

Nils de Mol van Otterloo of Los Angeles, CA, received a Fulbright grant to research music and dementia in South India. His work begins in the fall and will span nine months.

JooWan Kim and his Ensemble Mik Nawooj were commissioned by ESPN to reimagine the Ashford and Simpson song “California Soul” for the network’s 2016 NFL Super Bowl programming. Visit ensemblemiknawooj.com.

Saxophonist Elan Trotman is hosting the third annual jazz excursion to his native Barbados October 7 to October 11 with guest musicians Jeffrey Osborne, Peter White, Brian Simpson, and Althea Rene. Visit barbadosjazzexcursion.com.

Gregory Pavliv of Bloomfield, NJ, opened a music school teaching a curriculum he developed for young students. Visit musicteaching.guru.

Matthew Cahoon of Allston, MA, and his group Everpresent released the CD Omega Point. The band’s video “Hypnotic” has aired in numerous countries. Visit everpresent.org.

Class of 2002

Pianist Aruán Ortiz of Brooklyn, NY, released the album Hidden Voiceswith bassist Eric Revis and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

Nolan Warden of Culver City, CA, earned his Ph.D in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His dissertation focused primarily on indigenous musicians performing popular Mexican music (música regional).

Pianist Megumi Yonezawa of New York City released her debut album, A Result of the Colors on the Fresh Sound New Talent label of Barcelona, Spain. Accompanying Yonezawa are bassist John Hebert and drummer Eric McPherson.

Class of 2003

Violinist Morwena Lasko and guitarist Jay Pun of Charlottesville, VA, released the album The Hollow. Performing with them are Stephane Wremble ’02, Michael Manring ’79, and Tupac Mantilla. Visit mojamusic.net.

Bernardo Monk of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has released five albums with his 11-piece tango orchestra. He has also authored Tango for Two and The Tango Saxophone Book via Advance Music in Germany.

Class of 2004

Shinya Ikuta of Hamamatsu, Japan organized a children’s concert for the Hamamatsu World Music Festival 2016. Several youth groups performed for the program.

Gerad O’Shea of Long Island City, NY, founded Applied Curiosity Research, an educational research company that encourages children’s intellectual curiosity and promotes healthy development. Visit appliedcuriosityresearch.com.

Class of 2005

Film composer Frederik Wiedmann of Sherman Oaks, CA, won his first Emmy for his song “True Bromance” (with lyrics by Mitch Watson), which was composed for the Netflix original series All Hail King Julien. The song is a duet sung by the lead actors of the show, Danny Jacobs (King Julien), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Maurice).

Class of 2006

Zachary Ray of Randolph, MA, has been living in India for the past five years operating Chaitown Creatives, a creative development company providing young musicians and artists in India a platform to gain recognition for their music and art.

Tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana of Brooklyn, NY, released the album Back Home backed by Pablo Menares (bass) and Jochen Rueckert (drums). It features eight original compositions and Gershwin’s classic “My Ship.” Visit melissaaldana.com.

Vocalist Jean-Carlos Casely of Davie, FL, who leads the band Casely and the Jank has released a new video for his single “Tick Tock.” Watch it at facebook.com/casely85.

Kevin M. Casini Esq. of New Haven, CT, is an attorney at Billings & Barrett, LLC. He handles copyrights and trademarks and represents writers and performing artists. His clients have appeared on The Voice and America’s Got Talent. Visit billingsandbarrett.com.

Guitarist Jordan Owen of Atlanta, GA, is teaching and performing in the Atlanta area. As a musical legacy for the grandsons of the late Craig Herndon ’68, he produced a double CD of music by Herndon, who was a drummer jazz radio host.

Class of 2007

Steve Dzialowski and Lucas Vidal of Venice, CA, launched Chroma, a company that creates movie trailer music. Chroma has released 11 albums with music of 47 composers and gotten many media placements. Visit chromamusic.net.

Singer Jessi Teich of Skippack, PA, released the EP JT and its first single “The Curtain Call” on Madame Freak Records in April. Visit jessiteich.com.

Class of 2008

Trent Campbell of Denver, CO, and his group Tnertle released their debut album MataMata in November 2015. Visit tntertle.com.

Swiss-born vocalist Gabriela (Heer) Martina released her debut album No White Shoes showcasing her original songs and a few jazz standards. She is backed by Kyle Miles ’10 (bass), Alex Bailey ’11 (drums), Jiri Nedoma ’10 (piano), and Jussi Reijonen ’10 (guitar). Visit gabrielamartina.com.

Composer Fred Emory Smith released an original soundtrack to the feature film Magic Hour on iTunes and various streaming services.

Drummer Matt Witek of Long Beach, CA, performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with pianist Justin Kauflin.

Class of 2009

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Johnny Duke of Nashville, TN, released the album Reimagine, which features 15 original songs. Duke played guitar on the platinum-selling albums Tornado and Painkiller by Little Big Town. He has toured with several country acts and is touring this summer with Mary Chapin Carpenter. Visit johnnydukemusic.com.

Songwriter Megan (Tod) Hutson of Sherman Oaks, CA, wrote the hook that Ledisi sang on Malcolm-Jamal Warmer’s song “Brand New Day.” Hutson cowrote “Smilin’” and “Miracle” for Maysa’s album Back 2 Love, which made an impressive debut on Billboard’s jazz and r&b charts.

Sandro Morales of Sherman Oaks, CA, scored the films Sleeper, The Wrong Roommate, Situational, and Out of Iraq. Visit sandromorales.com.

Saxophonist Jonathan Orland of Paris, France, has released his second album, Small Talk, featuring top international jazz musicians. His previous album, Homes, featured several fellow alumni, including George Garzone ’72. Orland is a busy sideman playing with various groups in Europe. Visit jonathanorland.com.

Violinist Ben Powell of Los Angeles, CA, has released The L.A. Sessions. The album features top Los Angeles session players on originals as well as selections from jazz, pop, and film music repertoire. Visit benpowell.com.

Pianist Julian Shore of Brooklyn, NY, released his sophomore album, Which Way Now, featuring his original jazz compositions. In addition to his own gigs, Shore has played with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Chris Cheek, Kendrick Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Matt Wilson, and others. Visit julianshore.com.

Tidtaya Sinutoke of Rego Park, NY, was selected to participate in the 2016 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, where she will develop “Sunrise Prayer,” a project with Ty Defoe and Mary Kathryn Nagle. Visit tidtayasinutoke.com.

Bassist Katie Thiroux of Long Beach, CA, released the album Introducing Katie Thiroux, which netted accolades from the NPR Music Jazz Critics poll, Huffington Post, and All About Jazz. Visit katiethiroux.com.

Class of 2010

Brynjar Boe of Oslo, Norway, had music featured in a U.S. pet adoption commercial. His music is licensed via the Los Angeles-based music library Score A Score.

Neara Russell of Studio City, CA, released a video for her song “Dance with Nobody.” She toured as a keyboardist and vocalist for the Boston-based band Magic Man. Visit neararussell.com.

Pier Luigi Salami of Poughkeepsie, NY, leads the PLS Trio, a Berklee alumni act blending jazz and electronic music. The group released its debut album East River, which received a five-star All About Jazz review and was nominated for the Best Debut and New Releases categories of the 2015 Jazz Critics Poll. Visit plstrio.com.

Songwriter Hanna Barakat of Brooklyn, NY, won first place in the International Songwriting Competition 2016 for her song “Cycle.” The tune is a peace anthem for the world that incorporates numerous foreign instruments and languages, including a spoken-word section in Arabic. Visit hannabarakat.com.

Class of 2011

Songwriters Vasuda Sharma of New Delhi, India, and Aleksandra Denda ’13 of Serbia, collaborated with Yousif Yaseen, Giosuè Greco ’14, and Moez Dawad ’15, Aman Mahajan ’07, and Jan Kus on the production of the song “Already Here.” Visit zoyamusicofficial.com.

Alexander Trampas of New Orleans, LA, is the bassist and musical director for Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis, who shared the stage with Smokey Robinson in December. The show included Zac Zinger ’11, Hinako Sato, Amberly Rosen ’08, and Dimitris Mann ’14. Visit alexandertrampas.com.

Zac Zinger of New York City composed music for CAPCOM’s Street Fighter V. He also arranged the album Monster Hunter: The Jazz, featuring Takeshi Ohbayashi and Jordan Rose ’12. In addition, he wrote big-band arrangements for RWBY, an animated series by Berklee professor Jeff Williams. Visit zaczingermusic.com.

Class of 2012

Vocalist Mayssa Karaa of Los Angeles, CA, appeared in a Sesame Street–type video singing the Arabic alphabet song. Shortly after its release, the video had more than 3 million views on YouTube. Visit mayssakaraa.com.

Peter Maltzan of Lexington, MA, is one of the three cofounders of U-Turn Audio, a company which manufactures consumer turntables in Woburn, MA. Among its clients are Barnes & Noble and Third Man Records (owned by Jack White of the White Stripes), for whom they are manufacturing a line of customized turntables. Visit uturnaudio.com.

Francisco Ruiz of Los Angeles, CA, performed at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival in Chile with Latin Grammy winner Paulina Aguirre. The competition drew an audience of 20,000 and was televised to millions worldwide.

Class of 2013

Drummer Ryo Tanaka of Brooklyn, NY, is playing with the band Peelander-Z for its spring tour.

Class of 2014

Pianist and composer Piotr Orzechowski ’14 (aka Pianohooligan) of Krakow, Poland, was the soloist in Philip Glass’s Tirol Concerto in a performance with the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra in May. He will play it again in August with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the opening event of the Tauron New Music Festival. Orzechowski also performs with his High Definition Quartet and is completing his third solo piano album, the follow up to 15 Studies for the Oberek. Visit pianohooligan.com.

Sammy Pisano ’14 of New York City works in the sales department at RED Distribution, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Miguel Ruiz Santos ’14 of Madrid, Spain, teaches clarinet, saxophone, and improvisation at the Municipal School of Creative Music in Madrid. He also leads an improvisation workshop with children and an amateur big band, and freelances with orchestras, jazz bands, and contemporary music and chamber ensembles. Santos is currently recording an album with his Guitarinet Jazz Duo.

Singer/songwriter Laney Jones of Astatula, FL, released a self-titled album, her fourth, on vinyl. She and her band the Spirits are touring the country to promote the album. Visit laney-jones.com.

Nick Esposito VIII ’14 of Brooklyn, NY, is an A1 broadcast audio engineer for ESPN in Bristol, CT. He mixes all audio elements for the live broadcasts for ESPN flagship programs “SportsCenter,” “NFL Live,” and “NFL Insiders.”

Class of 2015

Michelle Golden ’15 is the communications coordinator at Superfly in New York City. The company produces the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands festivals, and creates immersive programming for brands. Golden also works with ProjectNextUp, a global initiative promoting diversity and providing mentorship in the music industry.

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.

Will Stone ’15 of Brooklyn, NY, is currently part of the creative team developing the musical iLLA: A Hip Hop Musical. Stone is the show’s music consultant, music director, and co-arranger of the vocals. The show premiered at the New York Music Theatre Festival July 2015, and will have a June run at Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts in Atlanta, GA. Visit www.illathemusical.com.

Vocalist Giselle Hausman of Toronto, Canada, is a member of the duo GAIIA blending soulful and jazzy singer-songwriter influences with deep-house tunes. Visit gaiiamusic.com.

Sergio Torres-Letelier of Los Angeles, CA, is scoring the feature film The Extraordinary World of Cecily Blinkstop by director Jennifer Potts. In 2014, Sergio scored Potts’s short film Charlie & Poppy.

Justin Schornstein of Boston, MA, composed and produced the score for the short film Jahar, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. Directed by Henry Hayes, Jahar depicts events as a young man learns that his friend is one of the Boston Marathon bombers.

XueRan Chen ’15 of Beijing, China, has been working as a composer and music producer in Los Angeles for the past two years and is the owner of NEM Studios. NEM provides project-specific music for film, television, video games, and commercials. Visit www.nemstudios.com.

Alper Tuzcu, originally from Istanbul, Turkey, now residing in Brookline, MA, released the album Between 12 Waters for Palma Records. The album release concert in Cambridge, MA, included 11 Berklee musicians from seven countries. Visit alpertuzcu.com.