Berklee Today

L.A. Newsbriefs

Peter Gordon '78
Photo by Lester Cohen

For the So Cal alumni community, the Annual Alumni Brunch usually kicks off the new year in style. The recent 2004 Brunch was no exception; in fact it was the biggest and best yet! The event was a tribute to President Berk and his wife, Susan, an opportunity for many alumni to say thank you and offer well wishes for their upcoming retirement.

The setting was great, the food was outstanding, and the music truly memorable. Abraham Laboriel '72 was featured on bass, with his sons Abe Jr. '93 and Mateo '02 on drums and guitar, respectively, Justo Almario '72 (tenor sax and flute), Eric Marienthal '79 (alto sax), Milton Fletcher '02 (keys), and Daniela Bauer '04 (vocals). Words don't do justice to their performance. What an amazing ensemble!

On the career front, many of our So Cal alumni are thriving. One such graduate is Matthias Weber '91, who recently won an Emmy for his music editing on James Cameron's Expedition Bismarck. He also served as programmer (with Trevor Jones) on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and on Tears of The Sun, with Hans Zimmer. In addition, he wrote the music for a worldwide advertising campaign for the Lacoste fragrance Pour Homme and worked with Hans Zimmer as co-composer on the German TV series Motorrad Cops and Cobra 11.

Emmy winner Matthias Weber '91

Music editor Steven Saltzman '77 has also been busy. Among his recent projects are Dead and Breakfast, A Guy Thing (music by Mark Mothersbaugh), Heart Breakers (music by John Debney), Big Fish (music by Danny Elfman), and Blood Head (music by Ernest Troost '78). Saltzman also served as music supervisor on this project.

Another music editor, Tanya Hill '95, lists among her recent credits Elf and Along Came Polly.

Jim Burt '74 and Curtis Roush '80 have just completed work (as music editor and supervising music editor, respectively) on the new Disney feature Miracle starring Kurt Russell.

With all the attention typically paid to the film and TV industry, it's easy to overlook some excellent straight-ahead jazz here in Los Angeles. Pianist Cengiz Yaltkaya '76 has produced a new CD entitled Visits that features eight of his original jazz compositions, all duets with vibraphonist Eldad Tarmu. Inspired by Yaltkaya's recent world tour with Tarmu, Visits captures the influences of multiple cultures and turns them into an inspiring musical experience. Produced by the indie label Fever Pitch Productions, Visits can be found at

Pianist Cengiz Yaltkaya '76

Matthew Hager '91 is finding success as a songwriter/producer. He produced a very successful smooth jazz CD for Mindi Abair '91, whose first single "Lucy's" (which Hager cowrote with Abair), was number one for eight weeks on R&R - a record for a debut artist. Hager has also produced tracks for Peter White's upcoming album for Columbia and wrote the single "How Does It Feel?" His solo work on a song called "Enough" was featured, in the movie A Walk To Remember starring Mandy Moore. He is currently working on Abair's second album and developing new talent for Verve Records.

This past year has been an exciting one for vocalist Adriana Balic '95, who has been touring the world with Pink. Apart from numerous live concerts, there have TV appearances on Saturday Night Live, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen Show, the Billboard Awards, Today, and MTV's TRL. In other touring news, bassist Eric Holden '99 and guitarist Tariqh Akoni '92 both appear on Josh Groban's hit CD/DVD Josh Groban in Concert.

At the Annual Alumni brunch, Justo Almario '71 (left) and Abraham Laboriel '72 were among the featured musicians.
Photo by Mitchell Rose

On the TV front, Michael Levine '76 is the composer for the top-rated CBS show Cold Case, which has been picked up for a second season. The new Fox series Arrested Development features music written by David Schwartz '74 and recorded, edited, and mixed by Jason Tregoe Newman '99.

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