L.A. Newsbriefs

  Justine Taormino was named the Berklee Los Angeles Alumni Chapter leader in January 2009. She graduated from Berklee in 2006 with a dual major in Music Business/Management and Songwriting. Taormino's chapter leader role combined with her position as Berklee's L.A. intern services coordinator will enable her to connect alumni business owners with student interns for professional opportunities that will benefit both parties.
  Sharon Farber '97 and saxophonist Dave Koz
  Ernest Troost '78
  Matthew Hager '91

In an interesting example of musicians finding new paths and outlooks, award-winning L.A.-based film and television composer Ernest Troost '78 has experienced newfound success as a singer/songwriter. He is the 2009 New Folk award winner at this year's Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, which is considered the premier songwriting event in the country. Troost was among 32 finalists selected from all over the globe. To put this award in perspective, previous winners in the New Folk category include Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, and Robert Earl Keen. He has just completed his second solo CD, Resurrection Blues (visit www.ernesttroost.com).

Curt Sobel '78 has been working on the upcoming movie musical Nine with director Rob Marshall. Sobel serves as the supervising music editor on this adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name, which is slated for release in November 2009. He also recently scored the music for the short film Prodigy directed by Brandon Camp (visit www.responsibilityproject.com/films/player/prodigy).

Two pieces by composer Sharon Farber '97 were recently featured in concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The music was performed by a symphony orchestra and a 100-member gospel choir, and the featured soloists included renowned sax player Dave Koz. In April, Farber's work for women's choir and chamber ensemble My Beloved was premiered in New York and her choral piece in memory of Daniel Pearl The Third Mother/Mothers' Lament, which was premiered by the prestigious Los Angeles Master Chorale, was published by the Lorenz Corporation. Farber is also the composer in residence for the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, which takes place in August.

Composer Roger Bellon '75 is keeping busy on several fronts. His recent composing assignments include the original scores to three plays: Man.gov and Harm's Way, the second of which is running at the 45th Street Theatre in New York City, as well as Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, which has just completed its run at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles.

Bellon also scored the feature documentary 12 Stones, which has won awards at film festivals in Tallahassee, Atlanta, Boston, Palm Beach, Newport Beach, Santa Cruz, and Little Rock. Additionally, he has also completed the scores for two Hallmark television movies, Generation Gap and Always and Forever.

Producer, musician, and songwriter Matthew Hager '91 has emerged from the shadows of several successful acts to become a pop-rock recording artist in his own right. To date, Hager has spent most of his career as a producer and songwriter working with such notable acts as Duran Duran, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Simply Red, jazz star Mindi Abair '91, and singer/actress Mandy Moore. The June release of his debut EP, Peace Love, and Animosity, puts the spotlight on his own brand of pop-rock songwriting (visit www.matthewhager.com).

Keyboardist, composer, producer, and music educator John Novello '73 has a new solo project that includes both a CD and a live touring band. Coproduced with multiplatinum-awarded songwriter and producer Andy Goldmark, Novello: B3 Soul has just been released on Nu Groove Records. The live B3 Soul Band features Novello on Hammond B3 and keys and Eric Marienthal '79 on sax (visit www.myspace.com/novellob3soul).

Leo Flynn '03 has found a niche in record production. Working for the Los Angeles division of CMH Records, he produces music for very young children under the banner of Rockabye Baby Records. The tunes are lullaby versions of hits by all your favorite classic-rock bands. Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Queen was released in April and is the latest in a series that also includes the music of the Beatles, U2, AC/DC, Pixies, the Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Green Day, the Ramones, and Bob Marley (visit www.rockabyebabymusic.com).

That's all for now. Stay in touch,


Peter Gordon '78
Director of Berklee Center in LA