Berklee Today

L.A. Newsbriefs

  Peter Gordon '78

Reality TV has certainly changed the face of the television industry and, while such shows aren't always signs of a positive trend, it has proven to be a fertile arena for many alumni composers and editors in Los Angeles. I'm not a fan of most reality shows but recently I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across a show called Rock Star:INXS. Unlike some other music-based shows, this one has a great house band that is featured on camera. It is an all-star group of some top young Los Angeles session musicians. The drummer and guitarist, who each played a visible role in each episode, were Nate Morton '94 and Jim McGorman '95 respectively.

There have been many recent high-profile success stories in the world of music editing. Melissa Muik '01 has been working closely with composer Hans Zimmer, serving as music editor on the animated features Madagascar and Shark Tale as well as the movie Spanglish. Shie Rozow '97 worked with composer Danny Elfman on the Tim Burton movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The music was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Among Rozow's other recent music-editing credits is the TV phenomenon Desperate Housewives and the latest Tim Burton/Danny Elfman collaboration Corpse Bride. Steven Saltzman served as the music editor on the movie Bewitched and is currently teaching a course on Pro Tools at UCLA. Dan Raziel '89 has begun his fourth season as music editor on the CBS series Without a Trace.

Two former film scoring majors also earned some significant orchestration credits. Joey Newman '98 teamed up with his cousin Randy Newman to provide orchestrations for the upcoming Pixar movie Cars. Joey Newman has worked previously with his cousin as an orchestrator on Seabiscuit. Kevin Kliesch '92 orchestrated numerous cues for composer James Horner's upcoming movies Flightplan and The New World.

Alumni names have traditionally been prominent among Emmy Award honorees, and this year is no exception. Composer Steve Marston won a Daytime Emmy Award for his music in the PBS series Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks. At the time of this writing, the Primetime Emmy Awards had not been doled out, but the nominees include Alf Clausen '66 for both his scoring and songwriting in The Simpsons, Matthias Gohl '81 as musical director on the PBS special entitled Broadway: The American Musical, sound editor David Van Slyke '82 for his work on the CBS hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Skye Lewin '02 for his music editing on CSI: Miami. Congratulations to all.

Cliff Brodsky '87 and Jason Kirk have just finished producing an album for debut artist Optimus. Their music is a blend of hip-hop and rock and has been compared very favorably to Outkast. The buzz is great and major labels are currently bidding for distribution rights, so watch out for Optimus!

Matthew Hager '91 recently produced the first single for Simply Red's upcoming album Simplified. He is also currently writing and producing for the Verve Music Group jazz artist Mindi Abair '91, who is recording her third album for the label. Her recent album topped both the Billboard and R&R charts.

Songwriter Reed Vertelney '80 recently wrote and produced songs on albums for American Idol stars Latoya London and George Huff. He also penned the end title songs for the Disney films Little Mermaid 3 and Cinderella 4.

In the world of video-game music, Lennie Moore '83 had two of his arrangements performed at the Hollywood Bowl by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a concert entitled "Video Games Live." The arrangements were for Harry Gregson Williams's scores to the Metal Gear Solid and Frogger games.

Moore also taught a three-day seminar on composing music for video games as part of California State University-Northridge's Summer Arts Festival in Fresno, California.

The Corey Allen Trio, featuring Allen '80 (piano), Klaus Sounsaari '84 (drums), and Christian Fabian '96 (bass), is on tour backing former faculty member and Manhattan Transfer vocalist Cheryl Bentyne.

That's all for now.

-Peter Gordon '78, Director,
Berklee Center in Los Angeles