Berklee Today

L.A. Newsbriefs

Peter Gordon '78
Photo by Lester Cohen

Given Berklee's traditionally high level of international enrollment, it should come as no surprise that our alumni were prominent among the roster of 2003 Latin Grammy nominees. Recording engineer Benny Faccone '78 was nominated and won in the category of Best Engineered Album for Revolución de Amor by Mana. Los Angeles-based woodwind specialist Justo Almario '71 received a nomination in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album for Bongó de Van Gogh by the band Tolú, which he coleads with renowned percussionist Alex Acuña. Flutist Nestor Torres '73 was nominated in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album for his CD Mi Alma Latina.

There are also several significant contributions by alumni on other nominated works. Vinnie Colaiuta '75 played drums and Ozzie Melendez '81 played trombone on Gato Barbieri's The Shadow of the Cat, which was nominated in the Best Latin Jazz Album category. Abraham Laboriel Sr. '72 played bass on Pedro Fernandez's De Corazón, which was nominated for Best Ranchero Album. Faculty member Oscar Stagnaro played bass, alumnus Claudio Roditi '70 played trumpet, and Dario Eskenazi '88 arranged music for Paquito D'Rivera's album Brazilian Dreams, which won the Best Latin Jazz Album Award. This year's Emmy Award nominees included some familiar alumni names as well as some newcomers. In the category of Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Special, Ernest Troost '78 was nominated for Martin and Lewis. For Outstanding Music and Lyrics, Alf Clausen '66 was nominated for the song "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders," featured in The Simpsons episode entitled "Dude, Where's My Ranch?" Composer Philip Giffin '76 received a nomination for his main title theme music in the hit NBC series Boomtown.

On the technical side, sound editor David Van Slyke '82 won an Emmy for his work on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as did music editor Matthias Weber '91 for his work on James Cameron's documentary Expedition Bismarck that aired on the Discovery Channel. Additionally, music editor Jim Burt '74 was nominated for his work on the TNT movie Monte Walsh.

Also in the technical realm of film and television, David J. Bondelevitch '85 was recently elected president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), a 50-year-old nonprofit organization that promotes the craft. Each year, MPSE honors the highest achievement in the field with their Golden Reel Awards. Bondelevitch has been a consistent Golden Reel winner and nominee and is currently a faculty member at the University of Southern California.

For those who fly on United Airlines, you may be interested to know that vocalist Orna Shifren '95 was featured on the in-flight entertainment program during the months of August and September. Songs from her CD The Very Thought of You were included on the jazz audio channel, along with an interview with Alfredo Cruz from the radio station KKJZ, 88.1 FM.

Former faculty member Gary Solt '76 recently returned from a monthlong concert tour of Japan with the Percy Faith Orchestra, during which he was featured as guitar soloist with the orchestra. This August his Gary Solt Quartet began its sixth season performing for the weekly tapings of the hit CBS comedy Becker starring Ted Danson. In addition, Solt has just begun his seventh year as a faculty member at Musicians Institute in Hollywood and is finishing up work on his latest CD entitled The Unlikely Event.

Trombonist Nick Lane '76 recently released an r&b/jazz CD entitled Alias Smith & Lane along with baritone saxophonist Greg Smith on Doc Kupka's Strokeland Records (

For many years Lane has been a regular sub for the multiplatinum band Chicago. The connection led to him arranging and playing on a recent solo CD by Chicago keyboardist/vocalist Robert Lamm. Lane's other recent credits include arranging for David Benoit, Jeff Golub, Rick Braun, and Richard Elliot. His trombone has been featured on recordings by Pink, Ziggy Marley, Marcia Ball, Joe Cocker, and Ellis Hall.

In the category of behind-the-scenes success, Marco Gamboa '96 has been on Shania Twain's world tour as her digital sequencer. This gig has also included a TV special taped in Chicago and the Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

On Halloween Night, Friday October 31, composer Will Richter '96 will conduct (live to picture) a 21-piece ensemble in his new score to the 1929 silent film classic The Phantom of the Opera at the Arc-light Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood. It will be a sold-out performance.

As for other news in the world of film and television, music editor Shie Rozow '97 had a busy summer working on the movies Hulk and 2 Fast, 2 Furious. His recent credits include the new Tim Burton film Big Fish. Pierre Andre '00 served as orchestrator for the X-Men sequel, X2.

That's it for now. Stay in touch.
—Peter Gordon '78, Director, Berklee Center in Los Angeles