Alum Notes: L.A. Newsbriefs
|Photo by Rob Hayes|
The year 2002 has already started out at a gallop with two major Southern California alumni events in January. The success of these events, one in conjunction with IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) and the other in conjunction with NAMM, augurs well for the year ahead.
The recent IAJE Convention attracted participants and musicians from far and wide. As usual, Berklee was strongly represented, with concert appearances by Phil Wilson's Rainbow Band, the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble directed by Winston Maccow '82, the vibes/piano duo of Gary Burton '62 and Makoto Ozone '83, the Tiger Okoshi ('75) Jazz Unit and numerous other alumni and faculty artists.
Berklee's IAJE alumni reception attracted about 150 guests who were treated to a stellar performance by the Rainbow Band. Additionally, President Berk presented a Distinguished Alumni Award to Catherine Goldwyn '74 in recognition of her outstanding achievements in inner-city music education. Goldwyn leads Berklee City Music in Los Angeles, a community outreach youth program in South-Central Los Angeles offering music instruction to students between the ages of nine and 20. Under her guidance, seven Berklee alumni serve as faculty for the program which has attracted so many students that there is a waiting list. Last year, two of her students attended the Berklee in L.A summer program last year on full scholarship. The goal is to continue to fund higher-educational opportunities for these young musicians.
|Photo by Lester Cohen|
The Annual Alumni Brunch, held in conjunction with the NAMM Winter Show, was also a big success. It is always well attended and, this year, an impressive five decades of Berklee alumni were represented. As is traditional, two Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented: one to composer Lawrence Shragge '77 and the other to producer, keyboardist, and technology guru Albhy Galuten '68. Shragge has scored over 50 feature films, television movies, and series. In 2001 alone, he scored eight different movies, received an Emmy nomination, and was named International Film Composer of the Year by the Society of Composers and Music Publishers of Canada. His projected schedule for this year indicates that he may well repeat this success.
Albhy Galuten's career has seen several phases and he has experienced significant success in each. As a session musician and arranger, he worked with such artists as Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Carmen McRae, the Eagles, and Rod Stewart. As a producer he has recorded such artists as the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Eric Clapton, Jellyfish, and No Doubt. As a tech visionary, he is credited with the invention of the enhanced CD. Now, he is a senior vice president at Universal Music, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential leaders in the strategic development of new technology.
In addition to the alumni awards presentation at the brunch, John Paulson, CEO Coda Music Technology, received the fifth Golden Clef Award in recognition of his longstanding support of music education.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Thelonius Monk Institute, housed on the campus of the University of Southern California. The program's principal element is an elite seven-piece ensemble that is mentored by a revolving roster of world-class musicians. The participants are chosen from an international pool of candidates. The day that I visited, they were under the guidance of renowned trumpeter/composer Terrance Blanchard. I was very impressed by this group and was even more impressed to learn that six out of the seven current participants are Berklee graduates.
As for other alumni in the news, songwriter Reed Vertelney '80 has songs on the latest CDs by Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, and Marc Anthony. Maya Haddi-Zebley '99 wrote and sang a song entitled "My Country" which was named one of three finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, world-music category. She also arranged and produced the recording with Sharon Farber '97. Derek Sherinian '84 is about to release Inertia, the newest CD by his band Planet X. Guest performers on the disc include Steve Vai '79 and Billy Sheehan. Sound editor Daniel Colman is currently working on the CBS show The Agency. Similarly, David Van Slyke '82 is handling the sound editing duties on the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He received a 2001 Emmy nomination in the sound-editing categoryfor his work on the show.
That's it for now. Stay in touch.
Peter Gordon ' 78, Director, Berklee Center in Los Angeles