Berklee Today

Alum Notes: L.A. Newsbriefs

Latin percussionist Luis Conte (left) played at the Berklee In L.A. sessions with faculty members Consuelo Candelaria '88 (piano) and Oscar Stagnaro (bass).
Photos by Emily Singer

The Berklee in L.A. summer program, held each year in July, was once again a great success. Enrollment was at the highest level ever and the popularity of this program continues to grow.

The master class series, a component of the program, featured numerous memorable moments. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal '79 demonstrated practicing techniques and jammed with a group of students. Prime, a new trio featuring Peter Donald '70 on drums, Abraham Laboriel Sr. '72 on bass, and Tom Ranier on piano, presented a concert and spoke about their careers. Warner Bros. Records Senior V.P. of Business Affairs Mark Goldstein discussed new opportunities available to artists through Internet technologies. Saxophonist, recording artist, and faculty member Walter Beasley '84 presented a concert. World-class percussionist Luis Conte performed and discussed Latin percussion, and vocalists Lynn Fidmont '84 and Amy Engelhardt '90 each presented clinics for the vocal track students.

Vocalist Lynn Fidmont '84 participates in a clinic during Berklee In L.A.


In late September, an alumni reception was held in conjunction with the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention. More than 100 alumni attended this event during which two prominent MP&E graduates, Chris Barrick '95 and Angela Piva '86, were presented with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Barrick serves as an editor and assistant sound designer at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch, where he has worked on such movies as Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, and A Bug's Life. Piva has won a Grammy and earned two Grammy nominations for her recording and mixing work for rap artists Naughty By Nature. Other artists for whom she has worked include Mary J. Blige, Michael and Janet Jackson, Run DMC, Toni Braxton, Queen Latifah, and En Vogue.

Congratulations to this year's Emmy Award nominees! Danny Pelfrey '75 was nominated, in the category of Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) for his music in the Warner Bros. series Felicity. Ernest Troost '78 received a nomination (his third) in the category Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special for his score to Beyond the Prairie: The True Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the category of Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special, David Bondelevitch '85 was nominated and won an award for his music editing on the TNT movie The Hunley. Elmo Ponsdomenech '83 was nominated (his second nomination) for his work as rerecording mixer on "NYPD Blue."

If you've ever watched "The X Show" on the FX Network, you've heard the music of Jon Ernst '87. He is musical director for this show, a role for which he has been described as a Generation X version of Paul Shaffer. Ernst plays guitar and keyboards as he composes theme music and bumpers on the fly. His versatile composing talents are also on display in VH-1's "Behind the Music" series; for which he has written music for shows featuring such diverse artists as Quincy Jones '51, Ice-T, the Go-Gos, and Selena. Other scoring assignments include the "Inside TV Land" episodes of "Charlie's Angels" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." For more, visit <>.

Vocalist Amy Engelhardt '90, a member of the Bobs, also hosted a clinic.


As for other alumni in the news, keyboardist Derek Sherinian '84 has recorded a new CD of music, which he describes as "extreme progressive fusion" with his new band Planet X. Formerly a member of the band Dream Theater, Sherinian has also toured with Kiss and Alice Cooper. Bassist Scott Koziol '94 has been touring and recording with the Warner Bros. hip-hop/rock group Linkin Park.

In the world of film and TV music, Sonia Wisgo '98 has been working as an assistant to composer Lawrence Shragge '77 on the CBS miniseries Haven (starring Natasha Richardson, Anne Bancroft, and Martin Landau), America!, a series for the Odyssey Network, and Custody of the Heart, a Lifetime TV movie starring Martin Donovan and Lorraine Bracco. Peter Rodgers Melnick '86 scored the recent E! Channel movie Becoming Dick, which starred Robert Wagner, Elizabeth Berkeley, and Harland Williams.

That's it for now. Stay in touch.

Peter Gordon '78

Berklee Center in Los Angeles