Berklee Today

Alum Notes: L.A. Newsbriefs


Berklee in L.A. Summer Program clinicians Bruce Bartlett (left) and Victor Mendoza performed for the students.
Photo by Emily Singer

The annual Berklee in L.A. Summer Program was held in late July and many alumni served as clinicians in the program. Peter Donald '70 and Abraham Laboriel '72 performed with pianist Tom Ranier. As usual, their trio 3Prime sounded great as they showcased some of the music from their new CD. Carl Verheyen '75 displayed a variety of skills that continue to make him such a successful session guitarist. Avery Burdette '75 represented Yamaha in a demonstration of some of the company's latest music technology products. Tom Griesgraber '95, a Chapman Stick specialist, performed with his trio Agent 22. Robyn McElhatten '99 and Diane Richardson '96 were among those featured in vocal clinics.

Of the 10 student composers from across the United States who were selected to be finalists in the second annual 2001 Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition (presented by Turner Classic Movies, Film Music magazine and MP3, and sponsored by the Guitar Center), four were Berklee alumni. They were chosen from 260 entries. Berklee alumnus Peter Vantine '91 was awarded the grand prize: a paid assignment to create a new score for a classic silent film. The prize includes a trip to Los Angeles this fall to record the score with a live orchestra. The first runner-up was Matt Koskenmaki '98, and Louise Gonzalez '99 and Brian Satterwhite '98 were also finalists.

Voice Department Chair Jan Shapiro (left) and visiting artist Diane Richardson were among the Berklee in L.A. clinicians.
Photo by Emily Singer

In other news in the world of film and TV music, alumnus Atli Orvarsson'96 has been working with Mike Post as a composer and orchestrator on Law & Order; Special Victims Unit; NYPD; and other shows. He also worked as second orchestrator on Graeme Revell's scores for Titan AE and Red Planet. Roque Banos '95, a Berklee film scoring alumnus from Spain, scored several feature films in Spain since graduating and recently scored the new Ben Kingsley film, Sexy Beast. Peter Bufano '96 was score coordinator on the film Josie and the Pussycats. His other recent credits include music preparation on James Dean; An Invented Life and a couple of episodes of King of the Hill.

Joe Kraemer '93 just completed the score to Framed, starring Sam Neill and Rob Lowe. It will air on TNT sometime after December. He also recently released a singer/songwriter album, called Joe Kraemer, which is available at exclusively. More information can be found at his website at His score to last year's The Way of the Gun won Video Watchdog magazine's Best Sleeper Score of 2000 award and was runner-up for Best Score of 2000, and the website named him the Film Music Newcomer of 2000.

David Schwartz '74 composed music for the film You Stupid Man, and the TV series The Ellen Show (the new Ellen Degeneres show). David's assistant/music editor is Erica Weis '00 who graduated from Berklee in film scoring last year. Karen Bennett '00 has assistant music editor credits on the films Cats & Dogs and Planet of the Apes. Daniel Davis '00 recently scored the documentary The Big O. Gary Schreiner '79 and Curt Sobel '78 have placed songs in several films, namely, Evolution, starring David Duchovny and Julianne Moore; Wooly Boys, starring Kris Kristofferson and Peter Fonda; Simone, starring Al Pacino; and finally, I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. Curt has also been temping a film called The Majestic starring Jim Carrey.

Will Richter '96 scored a feature called the Underground Comedy Movie starring Michael Clark Duncan. Another recent scoring assignment was the murder mystery Pendulum, starring Rachael Hunter and James Russo, which was in competition in the Hollywood Film Festival.

As for this year's Emmy Awards, composer Lawrence Shragge '77 received a nomination for Haven. He has also been busy scoring The Famous Jett Jackson (Disney Channel), the Triangle (TBS), Murray Maguire ME (PAX), A Town Without Christmas (CBS), Sons of Mistletoe (CBS), Due East (Showtime), and A Wrinkle in Time (ABC/Disney). His full-time music assistant is Berklee alumna Sonia Wisgo '98. Alf Clausen '66 also received a nomination in the category of Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) for the "Simpsons Safari” episode of The Simpsons. This is his 21st nomination and his 14th nomination for Simpsons music.

That's it for now. Stay in touch.

--Peter Gordon '78, Director,
Berklee Center in Los Angeles