Berklee Today

L.A. Newsbriefs

Peter Gordon '78
Photo by Lester Cohen

Another summer has come and gone and, as is traditional at this time of year, a new wave of recent graduates has arrived in Los Angeles to begin their careers. Many of these were in attendance at the recent Happy Hour Hang at the Cat 'n' Fiddle in Hollywood, an event that gave some of our more established grads the opportunity to meet and greet these new folks.

In a related story, Associate Director for Experiential Learning Melissa Brodsky came to Los Angeles in July to visit current internship sites and explore new opportunities. The Berklee internship program has blossomed under her leadership. A growing number of prestigious music industry firms now have a formal internship agreement with the college, an encouraging trend for our future graduates, given the increasingly competitive job market. During her visit, Melissa organized a networking luncheon with many of this summer's L.A. interns.

Another annual rite of summer is the week-long Berklee in L.A. Program, held each year on the campus of Claremont McKenna College. This year a number of alumni were involved as clinicians and performers. Yamaha product specialist Avery Burdette '75 conducted a session on the latest technology for home studios. There were performances by Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber '95 and his band Agent 22, as well as an all-star trio comprising Abraham Laboriel, Sr., '72 ( bass), Abraham Laboriel, Jr., '93 (drums), and Greg Mathieson (keyboards). It was amazing to have both Laboriels on the same stage. Abe Sr. is a recording legend in the L.A. studios, and his son is becoming known as one of the hottest drummers around. Abe Jr. is currently drumming for both Paul McCartney and Sting and has worked with Seal and k.d. lang, among others.

Berklee's Associate Director for Experiential Learning Melissa Brodsky (front row fourth from the left) after a July luncheon in Los Angeles with Peter Gordon (back row, second from left) and past and present Berklee interns.
Photo by Matthew Perry

Once again this year, there were several Berklee alumni nominated for Prime-time Emmy Awards. Nominees included Alf Clausen '66 in the category of Music and Lyrics for The Simpsons ("The Old Man and the Key"); David Van Slyke '82 in the category of Sound Editing for a Series for his work on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; and David Schwartz '74 for Main Title Theme Music for Wolf Lake. Brian Lydell '95 also received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the category of Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series for his work on One Life to Live.

Here is additional news from other West Coast alumni. Composer Michael Levine '76 wrote the score for "Gone Nutty: Scrat's Missing Adventure," a brilliant animated short that will be a bonus on the upcoming Ice Age DVD release. Atli Orvarsson '96 composed the score to Lansdown, a feature film from Outrider Pictures that won the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California, and was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Shie Rozow '97 served as assistant music editor on the upcoming feature film Red Dragon, a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs. The Los Angeles Master Chorale premiered The Third Mother/Mother's Lament composed by Sharon Farber '97 in September.

(From the left): Abraham Laboriel, Sr., Bass Department Chair RIch Appleman, and Abraham Laboriel, Jr., after a performance at the Berklee in L.A. summer session.
Photo by Toni Ballard

On the performance scene, drummer Joel Taylor '83 has been playing with Alan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, and David Foster. Visit his website at Woodwind specialist Mark Hollingsworth '83 appeared at the Long Beach Jazz Festival with jazz harpist Lori Andrews and also at the JVC Jazz Festival in Concord, CA, with Greg Adams. You can contact him via his website at On his latest CD Noche, drummer Jerry Kalaf '72 features some of L.A.'s finest jazz performers, including Bob Summers '71 on trumpet and Scott Breadman '75 on percussion. A recent review in the L.A. Jazz Scene stated that this Sea Breeze Jazz album "hits the spot for all lovers of straight-ahead jazz."


That's it for now. Stay in touch.

Peter Gordon

Director, Berklee Center in Los Angeles