Alum Notes


In September 2010, trumpeter Peter Welker of Petaluma, CA, of the Oster-Welker Jazz Alliance released a new CD The Detour Ahead. Visit

  Rob Mounsey '75


Woodwind player James Dean of Haledon, NJ, has performed at swing night at the top club Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst, NJ, for the past seven and a half years. In 2010, Dean and his quintet the Whiskey Café Swing Jazz Quintet released These Things We Dig, a CD featuring 11 tracks. Visit


Singer/songwriter B.J. Snowden of Billerica, MA, had her song "In Canada" placed in the film Montana Amazon, which won in the Best Feature Film category at the 2010 Big Apple Film Festival. The film will hit theaters sometime in 2011. Snowden will also perform at this summer's Sled Island festival in Calgary, Alberta.


Drummer Jon Seligman of Westminster, MD, was awarded a top-level 2011 Maryland State Arts Council grant in world-music performance. Seligman recently released Quintet Music, a CD of his original music, which features Dave Ballou '86 on trumpet. Seligman is also a percussion instructor at McDaniel College.

Marty Wereski of Los Angeles, CA, was the music supervisor on the film White Irish Drinkers, which was released in theaters on March 25. The soundtrack is a collection of 1970s-style music in which Jim McGorman '95 has a song included. Visit


Saxophonist Steven Branson of Dedham, MA, has formed a new trio after three years of playing with the band Bitches Brew. Visit

Marc Macisso'76  

Producer and pianist Rob Mounsey of Brooklyn, NY, served as the music director and wrote orchestral arrangements for Broadway actress Idina Menzel on her nationwide symphonic pops tour. The tour included appearances with the Boston Pops, Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.


Guitarist Chuck Loeb of New York City became the new guitarist for the contemporary jazz group Fourplay in 2010. He is featured on the band's latest album, Let's Touch the Sky, along with drummer Harvey Mason '68, bassist Nathan East, and keyboardist Bob James.

Saxophonist Marc Macisso of Lancaster, CA, released his sixth CD, Smooth Journey. Visit


Jazz guitarist Gerry Beaudoin of Waltham, MA, is completing the new album The Return of the Gerry Beaudoin Trio, which features eight of his original compositions as well as two jazz standards. Slated for a June release, the disc features drummer Les Harris Jr., bassist Jesse Williams, and guest saxophonist Harry Allen.

  Michael Skinner '77

Reed player Mark E. Rabenold of Allentown, PA, has worked for 40 years as a pit musician for musical theater productions staged in Allentown.

Michael Skinner of Chicago, IL, was named to the board of directors of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).


Drummer and composer Don Mulvaney of Brooklyn, NY, released the CD Life in 2010. All money raised from the sale of his song "Haiti" went to charities benefitting the Haitian people. Visit


Jonathan R. Lax of Summit, NJ, recently judged the 2011 All-North New Jersey Junior High School Concert Band auditions. Lax also directs the band and orchestra at the Lincoln Community School and the Dr. Walter F. Robinson School in Bayonne, NJ.


Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Paul Bettencourt (a.k.a. Paul Edward Gabriel) of West Warwick, RI, released the new CD Basics, featuring new renditions of his original songs.

Composer and arranger Frank Macchia of Burbank, CA, released the new CD SON of Folk Songs for Jazzers, which features 12 new takes on traditional folk songs. Visit

Jonathan Lax '79  

Glen Sargent of Camden, ME, is a saxophone instructor at the University of Maine, Orono, and at Main Street Music Studios in Bangor, ME. He recently opened Second Wind Music, a woodwind repair and retail shop.

Greg Urbaitis of Nashville, TN, is currently hosting and playing bass for "A Night for Fugitive Poets," a monthly open-mic poetry-and-prose night with live music.


Rolf Sturm of North Bergen, NJ, released his 13th recording, Balance, a solo acoustic-jazz-guitar recording that received four stars in the February 2011 issue of DownBeat magazine. Visit


Benjamin Smeall of Green Bay, WI, is playing with Mariachi Estrella and his group SongCycleS, which plays originals and covers in English and Spanish.


Pianist Peter Dick of Toronto, Canada, released String Theory in April, a solo CD of his original material. Visit


In April guitarist and composer Francis Jacob of Brooklyn, NY, released the CD Je Sais Nager in France with his sister, actress Irène Jacob.

Keiko Kishi of Osaka, Japan, attended the 2009 International Piano Festival by People with Disabilities.

  Keiko Kishi '84

Josh Margolis and Tracy Bonham '88 of Brooklyn, NY, announced the three-year anniversary of their Gowanus Music Club, a music program for children age eight to 18. The program develops students to become well-rounded musicians. Visit


Sam Anstice-Brown of Somerset, England, has produced two iPhone apps: Musicians Hypnosis helps performers improve sight reading, pitch awareness, creativity, and more; Drum Secrets provides expert advice to drummers.


Don Bowman of San Diego, CA, plays with bands performing music from the 1950s through the 1990s. He has also played in tribute bands to Steely Dan, Billy Joel, and Jimmy Buffett.


Music instructor Mark Amberg of Boyds, MD, last year founded the Clearspring Elementary School of Rock, an after-school music club for elementary students.


Organist, singer, and composer Christoph Bull of Los Angeles, CA, released the pipe-organ recording First & Grand, made at Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall. The material ranges from Bach to Lennon and McCartney and includes a contemporary classical mashup of Beethoven themes. Visit

Ingrid Jensen '89  

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen of Astoria, NY, and her quintet Nordic Connect released their sophomore album, Spirals, featuring Swedish pianist-composer Maggi Olin '88. Visit

Brian Transeau (a.k.a. BT) of London, England, was featured on the cover of the February 2011 issue of DJ Times magazine.

L.A.-based composer Gernot Wolfgang released the CD Short Stories on the Albany Records label. The album features Wolfgang's chamber music performed by top L.A.-area musicians. Visit


Bobby Koelble of Orlando, FL, has been an adjunct professor of jazz guitar at Rollins College since 1997. He also teaches at the University of Central Florida and is a member of the faculty group the Jazz Professors. The group's eponymous CD reached number 23 on the Billboard jazz charts.

Drummer and percussionist Rich Kulsar of Forest Hills, NY, launched a new website at

  Veronica Petrucci '90

Vocalist and songwriter Veronica Petrucci of Franklin, TN, performed her song "Dare to Dream" on March 17 on the television broadcast "Bobby Jones Presents" on the Word Network. The song was chosen for the Special Olympics. Petrucci is also completing a new album to be released later this year. Visit

Bassist Paul Rogalski of Longmont, CO, owns Mojo's Music Academy and has relocated his business to a larger space to accommodate performance classes; offer rehearsal space; and host recitals, clinics, and teen summer camps.


Guitarist Ron Miller of Nashville, TN, performed with his Latin music group, Ingrid Salas & Black Shadow and represented Nashville in a nationwide search for the best vocalist sponsored by the Shure microphone company. Visit

Engineer Greg Smith of New Bedford, MA, released the nine-song EP After the Cake. Kevin Murphy '89 also appears on the album. Visit

Singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi and her husband, Derek Trucks, have completed the album Revelator. The long-awaited album features the couple's new 11-piece ensemble Tedeschi Trucks Band.


Bassist and composer Bryan Beller of Nashville, TN, released his first live album as a solo artist, Wednesday Night Live, in March on his Onion Boy Records label. The rock-jazz fusion tracks were recorded live in 2010 at Los Angeles's famous Baked Potato. Visit

Drummer Gary Benson of Cotati, CA, recently recorded a new album with his blues band SoulShine (visit He also plays with the bands Conception Vessel One and Earstu. Benson also operates, a website selling musical instruments to parents and schools.

Bassist Ivan Bodley of Brooklyn, NY, played with the house band for the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor programs honoring Tina Fey (2010) and George Carlin (2009). Saxophonist Crispin Cioe '71 led the band. Bodley tours with Sam Moore and Gloria Gaynor and played the halftime show at the Thanksgiving Day New York Jets game with the cast of the Broadway show Rock of Ages. Visit

Trombonist Dan Fox of Arlington, MA, and fellow alumni Mike Peipman '80, Christian "Crick" Diefendorf '91 and John McLellan '91 of the band Made in the Shade have released their fourth CD titled Stellar Jazz Safari. Visit


Singer/songwriter Suzanne Vick of Milford, CT, released Sweet Thing, a follow-up to her debut album, The Brightness of Orchids. Vick is currently involved in her first independent film project. Visit

Jess Meider '95  


Guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak of Wayne, NJ, played with metal band Halford at the Ozzfest 2010 festival tour of the United States. Chlasciak authors the monthly column "Metal for Life" for Guitar World magazine. Visit


Jeremy Van Buskirk of Stoneham, MA, released For the Love of Laughter, an album of seven electroacoustic pieces spanning his work of the past decade. The CD is available from on iTunes and at

Singer and composer Jess Meider of Beijing, China, had two songs included in the soundtrack of the new Chinese remake of the movie What Women Want. Meider appears on camera playing guitar in one scene as well. Visit

Bassist Matthew Rybicki of New York City released his debut CD, Driven, in February. The disc features primarily original compositions in the traditional jazz style. Visit


Producer and songwriter Boris Berlin of New York City released the album Classica Dance (The Legacy Remixes) with his act Metasonica in March. The first single for the disc is "Remember Me Like This." Visit

Singer and songwriter Deanna Della Cioppa of Los Angeles, CA, cowrote "Life of the Party" for Charlie Wilson's latest release on Jive Records and "Fabulous Life" for recording artist Mya's newest album. Della Cioppa also sang background vocals on the Justin Bieber single "Pray." Her album Songs Written by Me for TV was released in August 2010.

  Jason Weissman '96

Composer Brian Cobb of Seattle, WA, released the CD Campfire Songs, a project that draws on the words of past and present American frontier poets and the untamed spirit of the American settlers. Cobb also teaches music at Bellevue College. Visit

Vibraphone player Martin Fabricius of Copenhagen, Denmark, and touch-guitar player Chris Lavender '97 of Irvine, CA, released the album The Speed of Why. Visit

Vincent Gillioz of Burbank, CA, is working on the score for the feature film Collapse, his 33rd film project. Recently Gillioz also recorded the score to a promotional movie for Rolex with an 85-piece orchestra and 96-piece choir, mixed at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Saxophonist and composer Hermann Lara of San Francisco, CA, released his debut album, New Mission, featuring his original tunes featuring cameo appearance by guitarist Mike Stern '75. Visit

Mimi Rohlfing of Mundelein, IL, won the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award from Columbia College Chicago, where she directs a vocal jazz ensemble. Rohlfing performs with the Minerva Quartet and Vox Jazz with Jerry Zervic '60.

Saxophonist Jason Weissman of Richmond, MN, was widely hailed as a hero after he rescued a woman from a burning car wreck last summer. He is an active musician in the upper Midwest area and will be a featured performer as the leader of the horn section for Deodato at the upcoming Twin Cities Jazz Festival.


Guitarist Chris Crocco of New York City released The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio +. Joining Crocco on the disc are saxophonist George Garzone '72, drummer Francisco Mela, and bassist Peter Slavov '02.

Chris Crocco '97  


Bart Migal of Astoria, NY, recorded, edited, and mixed two albums nominated at this year's Grammy Awards: Sondheim on Sondheim and A Little Night Music. Migal also engineered the cast album for La Cage aux Folles.


Film composer Gunnard Doboze of San Francisco, CA, penned the score for the film Connected: A Declaration of Independence, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Visit


Composer and producer Ariel Blumenthal of Los Angeles, CA, created a 500-track music asset for Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channel with her company Creative Music Assets. The project involved 50 composers, including many Berklee alumni.

Engineer Peter Boynton of Cuenca, Ecuador, operates Moonlight Productions, which produces a variety of audio and visual projects. Visit

Singer/songwriter Chrissi Poland of Marshfield, MA, released her debut EP, Songs from the Concrete, in 2010. Poland sang with the Scissor Sisters in 2010 on their two-month 2011 tour of the United States. Visit

Saxophonist Elan Trotman of Mattapan, MA, released the new CD Love and Sax, featuring 13 romantic jazz tracks. Visit

Steel drummer Shawn Thwaites of Fieldale, VA, founded Pan United Youth Movement, a nonprofit organization to teach youth age nine to 17.

Drummer Mike Van Dyne of Cohoes, NY, and his band, Arsis completed a 27-date European tour in November 2010 followed by 15 U.S. dates in December.


Keyboard player Joe Chinni and his brother Tony Chinni of Boston, MA, recently released the album The Second Coming of Ahura Mazda as the Deathrays. The album is available on iTunes and Amazon. Visit

  Morwenna Lasko '03

Bassist Peter Slavov of Astoria, NY, is touring the United States and several European countries with Joe Lovano's group Us Five. Slavov has also assembled his own jazz quartet.

Trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Knox Summerour of Los Angeles, CA, cowrote, produced, and performed two original songs featured in the Beijing remake of the film What Women Want. Knox is also a featured trumpet soloist in Ning Hao's "No Man's Land" released in Asia in April. Visit


Composer Chie Imaizumi of North Hollywood, CA, composed "Opening New Doors," which the United States Air Force Academy Concert Band premiered under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Larry H. Lang.

Violinist Morwenna Lasko of Charlottesville, VA, released the CD Chioggia Beat with guitarist Vimpun Jay Punyanitya (a.k.a. Jay Pun) '03. The album features guitarist Pierre Bensusan and trumpeter Rashawn Ross '00 of the Dave Matthews Band. Lasko has also toured with the Avett Brothers, Toubab Krewe, and Vusi Mahlasela.

Producer and guitarist H. William Schleifer IV of Sherman Oaks, CA, is the musical director for the rock group Angels Fall. Schleifer is currently producing a single for the band Delta Rose with hit songwriter and producer Isaac Hasson.

Mamiko Watanabe '03  

Jazz pianist and composer Mamiko Watanabe of Bronx, NY, released Mother Earth with Francisco Mela (drums), Ameen Saleem (bass), and Kevin Louis (flugelhorn). The disc features a blend of standards and originals. Visit

Crystal "Honey" Willis was hired as the publicity coordinator for Hollywood Records at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, CA. She will handle tour publicity for artists Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.


Jameson Boyce of Orlando, FL, joined the national tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus show "Fully Charged!" as a keyboardist. Over the next two years, the show will tour North America.


Pianist Roy Assaf of New York City is collaborating with drummer Ronen Itzik '03 and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder for the troupe Augmented Reality and recording an album for Daywood Drive Records. Visit

Pianist and composer Jisun Choi of Denton, TX, released her debut album UP on Mirrorball Music. Her band recently completed a promotional tour of South Korea. Visit

  Beth Longwell '07

Singer, songwriter, and composer Adriana Rosario Duarte (a.k.a. Adriana) of Lisbon, Portugal, released her second CD, O que tinha de ser, in March. She wrote the majority of the album's songs and arrangements and produced the disc. Visit

DJ and producer Adam Dutch Durham of Baltimore, MD, and his electronic duo Alternate Seduction released a self-titled album that is available on iTunes and at

Geoff Earley, (a.k.a. "Geoffro Cause") of Los Angeles, CA, was featured on the "3 Minute Talk Show with Barry Sobel" on the L Studio website.

Phil Gorey of Jackson, WY, has been in the studio engineering, producing, and laying down tracks with several local bands. He also works for Studio AV Inc. and Capsicum Pro Audio.

Songwriter Shantell Ogden of Nashville, TN, wrote "Lost" and "For You (I'd Change)" for the debut album by country band Acklen Park. Additionally, Ogden played shows in North Carolina. Visit


Alex Beram of Charlestown, MA, received his MBA from Boston University and has taken a position at the consulting firm Holden Advisors in Concord, MA.

Hedi Bouzid will graduate from Suffolk University Law School in May with a juris doctorate degree.

Dani Rabin '07  

Singer/songwriter Tony Brown of Dorchester, MA, released his second independent CD, The Black Art. Also appearing on the tracks are Josh Sadlier-Brown '04, Claire Finley '08, Sonya Perricone '10, Attis Jerell Clopton '07, Ryota Sugawara '05 and current student Jenna Rycroft.

Stephanie Dominguez (a.k.a. "Ria") of Aventura, FL, opened for John Mayer '96 on the last stop of his Battle Studies album tour in West Palm Beach, FL.

Jamie Garamella of Brooklyn, NY, and Lauren Stockner '08 of the band the Spanish Channel released the album Brooklyn, Off Atlantic in March. The group is touring and was recently featured in Spin magazine.

James Harrington of Nashville, TN, was recently hired as an inventory coordinator and expeditor by Naxos of America, the world's leading independent classical label.

Singer/songwriter Charlie Worsham of Nashville, TN, is the opening act for 10 dates on Taylor Swift's summer tour.

  Nico Soffiato '07


Guitarist Johann Frank of Los Angeles, CA recently joined the "Engelbert Humperdinck-Released Tour 2011." Frank is the youngest member of the band. Visit

Under the moniker Cue, Chris Joye of Chevy Chase, MD, released his second album, A Thousand Shards of Sun. He is also working on the scores for two feature-length independent films. Visit

Singer/songwriter Beth Longwell of Palo Alto, CA, was recently featured on a CBS news segment on the feature film The Music Never Stopped. Longwell was interviewed about her experience using music therapy in her work at the veterans' hospital in Palo Alto. Visit

Guitarist Dani Rabin of Chicago, IL, has released the CD Breaking the Cycle with the band Marbin. The band features former Pat Metheny Group members Paul Wertico (drums), Steve Rodby (bass), Matt Davidson '09 (vocals), and Jamey Haddad '73 (percussion). Visit

Songwriter Emily Shackelton of Nashville, TN, appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on January 15 to perform her original song "Dream Big."

Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer Nico Soffiato and his quartet released their debut album Just Add Water on nBn Records. The other members of the quartet are Zach Mangan '08, Giacomo Merega '04 and Nick Videen. Soffiato was interviewed by Jason Crane of the Jazz Session in March. Visit

Jen Hirsh '08  


Composer and engineer Tomas Altamirano of Hollywood, CA, collaborated with composer David Steinberg on the new theme music for Bravo's hit TV show Million Dollar Listing. Altamirano also worked as a score mixer for documentaries Becoming Chaz and Grab, which were both featured at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Singer/songwriter Gina Cimmelli of Brooklyn, NY, and her band Gina's Picture Show have been performing throughout the Northeast. The band also features Jeni Magana '09 on bass, Matt Coser '10 on guitar, Stoddy Blackall '10 on piano, and current Berklee student Matt Weber on drums. The band's song "Don't Be Mad" was nominated for an award in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter category at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards.

Singer Jen Hirsh of Malibu, CA, released her album Myself in Two in March. The recording drew on the talents of Max Coane '04 (producer), Adam Tressler '08 (songwriter, guitarist), James Williams '06 (drummer), Paris Strother '08 (vocalist), and Major Johnson Finley '06 (vocalist). Visit

  Livia Lin '08
  Chris Chesna '09

Composer Livia Lin of Boston, MA, was selected to present her composition "Tales of White Flowers" in "Alive by Her Own Hand," a festival and conference focusing on women in music at Brandeis University in January. Visit

Guitarist Robert Mulyarahardja of Jakarta, Indonesia, has released a mini-album with his group Shadow Puppets Quartet. Mulyarahardja also performed with the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra at the Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore in March. Visit

Michael Wright of Franklin, TN, has become the permanent drummer of the Atlanta-based Christian rock band Revive. Signed to Sony's Christian label, Provident Music Group, Revive has toured with NeedToBreathe, Third Day, Tenth Avenue North, and many others. Additionally, Wright will drum for the new opening act Anthem Lights on a six-week West Coast tour.


Bassist Chris "Chez" Chesna and Dave Schaefer '80 of the band B Street Blues released the CD Car Won't Go featuring 10 original tracks in December 2010. The title track is now an intro for the NPR Radio show Car Talk. The band appears regularly at Foxwoods Resort Casino and at 31 Main in Ayer, MA. Visit

Recording engineer John Escobar of Watertown, MA, worked on a new trio album for guitarist Larry Coryell. Other trio members include John Colianni (piano) and Jim Cammack (bass). The album was mixed in Escobar's studio in Waltham, MA, and was released in January on the independent label Patuxent Music.

Jazz composer, arranger, and woodwind instrumentalist Art Felluca of Melrose, MA, released his first CD, Inward. He performed with his 11-piece band at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston in February. Visit

Michael Gottlieb of Jerusalem, Israel, released his debut album Nesia (the Hebrew word for 'drive'). The recording was selected as album of the week by the 88-FM morning show. Nesia features bassist Ayal Tsubery '10 and drummer Vishal Nayak '10 and was recorded at Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA.

Michael Gottleib '09  


Keith Asack of Stoughton, MA, is completing construction of a 2,500-square-foot recording studio that was designed by Berklee MP&E Professor Stephen Webber. The studio at 1150 Hancock Street in Quincy, MA, will open in April.

Drummer Hamir Atwal and his bandmates Mike Sopko and Ethan Rider make up Glimpse Trio. Described as "Oakland's dark kings of avant-metal colossalness" by L.A. Weekly, the band released its first album titled 1985. The disc was featured in DownBeat magazine's Editors' Picks column. Visit

Jonathan A.J. Lewis of Dorchester, MA, launched the website On the site, musicians can apply for a "Doing Business As" license, tax ID, website domain name; register copyrights; join a performance-rights organization; open their music licensing store; and much more.

Vocalist and songwriter Maria Marini of Boston, MA, and producer and songwriter Steven Shewbrooks '04 have released their first single, "Falling," under the artist name Maria Veronica. The track introduces their personal brand of danceable pop music. Visit

Neara Russell of Los Angeles, CA, released a new CD Noise and Silence in March. It is a self-produced album of original alternative pop/rock songs and will be issued by Nerve-O Records.