Berklee Today

L.A. Newsbriefs

Peter Gordon '78
Photo by Lester Cohen

Since early 1994, the Los Angeles Berklee Alumni Chapter has had only one president. Leanne Summers '88 began her term in this role at almost exactly the same time I began in my current position in the Berklee Center in Los Angeles more than 10 years ago. Having worked with her on numerous events during that time, I can truly say that her commitment and energy have made a lasting difference.

Prior to 1994, the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter hosted only one or two activities yearly. Last year, we held 15. The growth in both the number and scope of alumni activities has been impressive and Leanne has played a considerable role in this expansion.

Recently, Leanne chose to step down as chapter president in order to devote herself more fully to her career. She will be missed. At our end-of?summer social in late September, she was honored for her service, and many of our local alumni were on hand to offer their appreciation.

Presidential succession: Leanne Summers '88 (left) and Catherine Goldwyn '78

This event also served as the ideal opportunity to introduce the incoming Los Angeles Chapter President Catherine Goldwyn '78. Goldwyn heads the nonprofit organization Sound Art that provides after-school music programs in L.A.'s inner-city regions. The organization continues to expand and her staff is largely made up of Berklee alumni. If you wish to contact Catherine, she can be reached at

The Distance Learning program that links Los Angeles and Boston recently offered two exceptional events. In late July, renowned producer, composer, and keyboardist Don Grusin presented a session at Dolby Laboratories in Burbank. He discussed the production of his latest project, a DVD concert entitled The Hang that was mixed in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. For the alumni, listening to the music on a state-of-the-art sound system and watching the performance on the Dolby theater screen was exciting, and the experience was shared in real time with MP&E students in Boston. Grusin was pleased to note that there were numerous Berklee alumni among his featured artists on The Hang, including sax players Ernie Watts '66 and Sadao Watanabe '65, bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr. '72, guitarist Ricardo Silveira '77, and vocalists Frank Quintero '82 and Jude Crossen '91.

The second distance learning event, held on September 17, featured alumnus and celebrated pop artist John Mayer '98. On this occasion, the content was generated in Boston and viewed in Burbank by a large gathering of alumni who were treated to a unique and fascinating session combining performance and discussion with Mayer.

The transmission of both high- quality audio and video over ISDN lines requires considerable coordination, and in Los Angeles, Assistant Director for Special Programs Terry Becker works closely with the staff at Dolby Labs to make these events a success.

As for Los Angeles alumni in the news, David J. Bondelevitch '85 has been promoted to a tenure-track position as assistant professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. He is also the current president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Congratulations to our alumni Emmy nominees: sound editor Daniel Colman '95 and composers Ernest Troost '78, David Schwartz '74 and Alf Clausen '66. Clausen garnered two nominations.

Michael Levine '76 had a very successful first season as composer for Cold Case (CBS). He not only returns for a second season with this show but has also added scoring duties for the new WB show Drew Carey's Green Screen.

For any composer in Los Angeles, getting one's own series is cause for real celebration. When that show proves to be a lasting success, the composer enters a select group. Congratulations to Danny Pelfrey '75, who creates the score for Strong Medicine, a series that recently celebrated its 100th episode on the Lifetime channel. His previous scoring credits include such shows as Spin City (ABC), American Dreams (NBC), and Felicity (WB).

Shie Rozow '97 currently serves as a music editor on Desperate Housewives for ABC. His other recent credits include Exorcist: The Beginning for which he worked as assistant music editor, and Spider-Man 2, for which he served as assistant music editor for composer Danny Elfman and as music editor for the two movie soundtrack CDs.

The 5th Annual Latin Grammy Awards were held recently in Los Angeles. Congratulations to our alumni nominees trumpeter Diego Urcola '90, bassist Alex Alvear '89, and guitarist Ricardo Silveira '77.

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