Alum Notes

Compiled by Arielle Schwalm '10

1960s  -  1970s  -  1980s  -  1990s  -  2000s  -  2010s



Composer Roger Aldridge of Olney, MD, has a selection of original tunes, extended pieces, and ensemble scores available at the American Music Center. Visit


Marc Elbaum of Meredith, NH, has a song featured in Ernest Thompson's Academy Award-winning film Time and Charges. The song "When Love Is Good" was written and produced by Elbaum, David Henderson, and Thompson. Shawnn Monteiro performed it. For more info, visit

  Ernie Dewing '78


Chuck Mymit of Rego Park, NY, was awarded the Presidential Award for Outstanding Musical Achievement and Educational Service at Five Towns College this year.


Dr. Ken Carper of Naples, FL, presented a trumpet recital in March 2011. Carper performed during a benefit concert for a church in the Holguin district of eastern Cuba that Carper has visited on several musical church-related trips. Carper closed the concert with the New Horizons Band, which he also directs.

Roberta Fabiano of Stony Brook, NY, and bassist Frank Gravis performed three special concerts at the "Guitar Heroes Exhibition" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


Guitarist Mark Fitzpatrick of Port Charlotte, FL, wrote an instructional book for guitar called Guitar for Two Hands.


Saxophonist Rick Britto of New Bedford, MA, released the new album Conversations with Erik & I, an avant-garde jazz saxophone album featuring Erik Van Dam. Visit

Keyboardist Ernie Dewing of Edgartown, MA, released his first solo album Thru the Glass.

Percussionist Richard Ruotolo of Meriden, CT, recently performed his suite One World-One Life with the Hamden Symphony at The University of New Haven. Additionally, Ruotolo has been performing with his ensemble Speak No Evil. Visit


Linda Foy' 79  

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Linda Foy of Twin Bridges, MT, released the new CD Big Sky Dreams. The album is an ethereal mixture of electronic beats, voice, guitar loops, and sounds of nature. Visit

Guitarist Steve Freeman of Duluth, GA, released the new CD titled Surfside featuring eight of his original compositions. Freeman has written several jazz guitar books and is the founder of the Atlanta Institute of Music. Visit


Entrepreneur Shele Sondheim of Hollywood, CA, is the CEO of CSM Words and Music, a music production and publishing company. CSM currently works internationally with BoomTown Music Education, Sweden's international music-business education platform. Young artist Lica Guzman, a protégé of Phil Collins, recorded one of Sondheim's songs. Visit


  Shele Sondheim '80

Adam Glasser of London, England won the 2010 South African Music Award in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category for his harmonica album Free at First.

Drummer Oscar Olivera of Hackettstown, NJ, and his band RBI (Rock and Blues Inc.) were the opening act at the Centenary College Mini-Blues Festival earlier this year. They also performed at the Stanhope House for the Homegrown Radio NJ Summer Benefit Concert.

Guitarist Chris Taylor of New York, NY, released his new CD Nocturnal. He was also featured on the website Visit


Guitarist Robert McDonald of Temecula, CA, will perform with Edgar Winter at the Montana Rocky Mountain Music Festival in August. McDonald is a physician, and his McDonald Clinic is a sponsor of the festival. Visit


Jon Alberts '84  

Pianist Jon Alberts of Seattle, WA, recorded Apothecary with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Tad Britton. Alberts is also the CEO of Seattle Investment Network, Inc., which develops and operates restaurants and nightclubs.


Guitarist Ron Jackson, bassist Norbert Marius '87, and Hiroyuki Matsuura of Brooklyn, NY, make up the jazz trio Burning Gums. The group recently released its debut album. Visit

Guitarist Scott Schroen of Alpharetta, GA, performs with Ugly Radio Rebellion. Schroen also started his own business, Johns Creek Music, which provides opportunities for instruction, transcription, composition and live performances. Visit


Ted Boyce of San Carlos, CA, released Rock and Roll Nerd with his band Famous Wannabes. The record was released in May and was produced by Something Magical Productions LLC. Visit

Guitarist Kevin Kastning of Groton, MA, released the new album I Walked into the Silver Darkness with Mark Wingfield. Kastning performs on various guitars, including the 14-string contraguitar and 12-string extended baritone guitar. Visit

Brazilian-born composer Miguel Kertsman recently released the album Time? What's Time? He also released a music video for the song "The Calling" from the album. Visit

  Keith Skooglund '86

Songwriter Kelly Riley of Lynn, MA, performed at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on July 17 in Old Saybrook, CT. The concert was a CD release show for her newest album. Visit

Composer Brian Siewert of Brentwood, TN, premiered his symphonic works at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. Siewert also released the new album Feel.

Guitarist Keith Skooglund of Bloomington, IN, just released a self-titled CD of guitar-based instrumental music. The CD highlights Skooglund's skills as an acoustic guitar finger stylist and an electric player. Visit

Saxophonist Tommy Smith of Larkhall, Scotland, released the new album KARMA. The album features Irish, Scottish, Japanese, and Arabic folk influences. Smith has also been nominated for two Scottish Jazz Awards and as best educator and best jazz instrumentalist. Visit


Mordy Ferber '87  

Guitarist Mordy Ferber of New York City has released the CD Reflection featuring nine of his jazz compositions with backing from a quartet. Mel Bay Publications has also issued the book Mordy Ferber Compositions featuring 32 pieces penned by Ferber. Visit

Bassist Terje Gewelt of Oslo, Norway, released the new CD Selected Works. This is his ninth CD release. Visit

Chris Horvath of Mar Vista, CA, was the musical director for the musical episode of Grey's Anatomy earlier this year. He was also the musical director for the musical episode of Scrubs. Horvath is also the current creative director at Jamnation Music.


Composer Jean-Baptiste Boclé of Brooklyn, NY, orchestrated and arranged the epic music score for THQ's video game Homefront, which was recorded with a 40-piece orchestra. The game was released in March 2011.


Touring and session guitarist Eric Normand of Nashville, TN, has just published his first book, The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide. It includes an overview of music-related jobs in Nashville's nightclub, touring, and recording industries and draws on Normand's experience working with artists such as Toby Keith, Jamey Johnson, and Rhett Atkins. Visit

Bassist Kurt Ribak of Berkeley, CA, performed at Yoshi's Oakland on June 27 with his band the Kurt Ribak Quintet. Ribak wrote all the tunes that were performed by the group. He has recorded three CDs of original music with the Kurt Ribak Trio. Visit


Multi-instrumentalist and arranger Stevie Blacke of Los Angeles, CA, has played and arranged string parts for many major acts, including Joe Cocker and Cher. He most recently recorded all the strings for the films Jesus Henry Christ and Everything Must Go starring Will Ferrell. Visit

Louis King of New York City recently composed the music for several national ad campaigns, including spots in Geico's "Tango" and "Do Dogs Chase Cats?"and Charles Schwab's "Quick to Market." King also launched his new website at


Guitarist Tariqh Akoni of Pasadena, CA, has been touring with Josh Groban as his music director, conductor, and guitarist. He has toured with Natalie Cole, David Foster, and many others. Akoni is also the chair of the guitar department at the LA Music Academy.


Bassist and composer Bryan Beller of Nashville, TN, released Thanks in Advance: The Official Bass Transcription Book. It features complete transcriptions of all 11 songs on Beller's 2008 album Thanks in Advance. Visit

Dan Fox of Arlington, MA, and his Dixieland band Made in the Shade released the new CD Stellar Jazz Safari. The disc offers a survey of jazz styles, from traditional to bebop to free to fusion. Crick Diefendorf '91, John McLellan '91, Mike Peipman '85, and the late Paul Dosier '90 are heard on the album.

Roger Fearing of Sherman Oaks, CA, works for Undertone Audio building custom-analog recording consoles. Fearing also runs a business making custom wood guitar products.

Sound designer Jay Jennings of Burbank, CA, was the sound designer for the feature film The Hangover Part II. He has also done the sound design for the "Ice Cream," "Submarine," and "Road Trip" commercials on DirecTV.

  Gillian Welch '92

Singer/songwriter Gillian Welch of Nashville, TN, released the CD The Harrow & the Harvest. She will tour with David Rawlings '92 to promote the disc. Visit


Guitarist Reg Bloor of New York City will perform in the Glenn Branca Ensemble internationally this summer in support of the group's album The Ascension: The Sequel. Visit

Guitarist Matt Riley of Mount Laurel, NJ, released Everything We Know, an album with his band Adams Wilson. The album features songs cowritten by Riley and was released in May. Visit


Chris Alpiar of Atlanta, GA, is currently recording with Bobbi Wilson '00 for an album due for a Christmastime release. Alpiar is also working on a new project with his group 800 Giants, which includes fellow Berklee alumnus Vlamir Abbud.

Bassist Luis Espaillat of Nashville, TN, will hit the road as the musical director and bassist for Sunny Sweeney, who will open for Brad Paisley this summer. Sweeney's single "From a Table Away" reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts.


Saxophonist Teodross Avery of New York City is pursuing a doctoral degree in jazz studies at the University of Southern California. Avery also released an acoustic-jazz album featuring the music of Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, Alicia Keys, and others. Visit


Teacher Anne Kessler of Mount Laurel, NJ, opened Curtain Call Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. The school brings voice, theater, and dance to the community through summer camp, classes, and full-length musical-theater productions. Visit

Songwriter J.R. Rotem of Los Angeles, CA, was named one of BMI's pop songwriters of the year. Rotem has worked with many superstars, including Rihanna, Usher, Chris Brown, Nas, and Dr. Dre. Visit

Carey Yaruss '99  


Conductor Zoran Rebrovic of Milton, MA, conducted the Senior SEMSBA orchestra in Bridgewater, MA, in March 2010. The 70-piece orchestra was made up of high school students from the Southeast Massachusetts District.


Guitarist Eliot Hunt of Arlington, MA, the founder of Big Life Labs Inc., was chosen as the runner-up in the ReThink Music Business Model Competition (see related story). Visit

Engineer Will Kennedy of Valley Village, CA, engineered and mixed Black Kettle's self-titled EP. The group is made up of Keeley Bumford '10 and Kailynn West '10. The EP also features Josh Florian '00 and bassist Eric Holden '98. It was recorded at the Sound City Studios, where Dave Covell '06 served as assistant engineer.

Composer David Laborier of Luxembourg released Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Band, in January 2011. The album features nine original big-band compositions. Visit

Composer Dong-Hwa Park of Seoul, South Korea, released his fourth album, which includes traditional Korean songs arranged in the contemporary-jazz style. He also works full time as a jazz professor at Sarabol College in Korea.

  Adam Kestler '00

Vocalist Carey Yaruss recently released Blurt. The semi-concept album is an eclectic mix of genres with intimately personal lyrics. The album is available at CD Baby and iTunes.


Drummer Patrick Charles of Woodland Hills, CA, and the Patrick Charles Makandel Group will perform at the Yokohama Jazz Festival in Japan October 8 and 9. Visit

Guitarist Adam Kestler of Summit, NJ, has released his debut solo record titled Back to Normal featuring 10 original songs. It features Oli Rockberger '02, John Platania, and Andy Kuusisto. Visit

Composer Chris Opperman of Clifton, NJ, recently released The Lionheart on his record label Purple Cow Records. The album features Grammy-nominated saxophonist Frank Macchia '80 and Christopher Spilsbury '02. This summer, Opperman's ensemble will headline at Zappanale 22 in Bad Doberan, Germany.

Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw of New York, NY, performed on the Late Show with David Letterman with Roy Haynes in June. Visit


Jaleel Shaw '00  

Drummer Sly de Moya from Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, released an album with his band entitled Sly de Moya and the Latin Bars in May. Visit

Teacher Joey Dundore of Mountville, PA, started the JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra made of up 35 members, including young students and musically accomplished parents. The group recently released the nine-song album Dare to Dream. Dundore also teaches at Piney Ridge Elementary School.

Composer Freddy Sheinfeld of Pasadena, CA, composed the music for La Hora Cero (The Zero Hour) with Gabriel Velasco. The film is the biggest action film ever made in Venezuela. The movie is now being distributed internationally, and the soundtrack is available at iTunes.

Saxophonist Elan Trotman of Boston, MA, has released the new single "Heaven in Your Eyes," which rose to number 14 on the Billboard National Smooth Jazz Charts. His latest album, Love and Sax, also debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. Trotman also teaches in the Boston school system. Visit

Drummer Mike Van Dyne of Cohoes, NY, recently completed a 27-date European tour and a 15-date U.S. tour with his band Arsis.


Guitarist Jesse Bond of Atlanta, GA, is the musical director for Melanie Fiona. He is touring with PJ Morton and the group will open for Maroon 5 for three concerts.

  Matt Kilmer '02

Percussionist Matt Kilmer of Brooklyn, NY, has performed with Lauryn Hill and oud player Simon Shaheen. Kilmer currently records drums for the Fox network's sitcom Louie with comedian Louis C.K. This summer, Kilmer's band the Mast will release its debut album, Wild Poppies. Visit

Guitarist Justin Purtill of South Orange, NJ, recently released Sore Eyes for Sight. The album features Leo Genovese '04, Ryan Leaver '02, Jeremy Shanok '03, and Will Rzad '06. The album was recorded for Ayva, the record label of Pablo Valero '09.


Guitarist BJ Block of Vancouver, BC, released The Land of Make Believe with Dawn Pemberton. A song on the album is a finalist in the song of the year competition for radio station Shore 104.3. Visit

Bassist Brian Cockerham of New York City completed a 34-city tour with Talib Kweli. He is currently in the touring band of P.J. Morton.

Lauren Jones of Brooklyn, NY, is pursuing a human resources career and has been hired as associate human resources generalist for the Financial Times newspaper.

Multi-instrumentalists Christopher Nicholas and JooWan Kim are the cofounders of Golden Fetus Records. The pair also created Ensemble Mik Nawooj. Both their ensemble and their record label work continuously to break boundaries to create new hybrid music. Visit

Guitarist Thomas Nowak of Rocquencourt, France, recently released the metal EP Becoming. He wrote, arranged, and produced the record. Visit

Thomas Nowak '03  

Songwriter Tiana Star of Seal Beach, CA, recently licensed four songs to NBC's San Diego Morning Show. She also wrote the music for the short film One Way Ticket. Currently, the TC-Helicon site is conducting an underground artist video series on her. Visit

Misha Tarasov of Brooklyn, NY, performs as Svoy. This year, his song "Automatons" won best in the best Dance/Electronica Song category at this year's Independent Music Awards. Visit


Drummer Louis Cato of Brooklyn, NY, and alto saxophonist Alex Han '09 have been a part of the touring band for Marcus Miller and are on the road with the DMS Tour, which includes George Duke, Marcus Miller, and David Sanborn.

Rebecca Loebe of Roswell, GA, has been touring full time as a singer/songwriter. She recently made her national network TV debut on The Voice on NBC, which attracted 12 million viewers. Visit

Isabelle Merheje of Los Angeles is the CEO and creative director at Vertical Horizon Entertainment, a company she founded. The talent roster includes the Regiment Horns and the Deadlies. Visit

Composer Justin Nihiser of Atlanta, GA, has had his music placed in multiple TV shows, including Hellcats, The Big Bang Theory, Tosh.0, American Pickers, and Pit Boss. Nihiser has also done music for a Burger King commercial and movie trailers for Gulliver's Travels and Something Borrowed.


  Jeremy Borum '05

Composer Jeremy Borum of Torrance, CA, scored Bugbaby, the recent winner in the Best Horror Short category at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival. Borum is also the master arranger and music engraver for ZMX music. Visit

Chelsea Kolakowski of Astoria, NY, started her own jewelry line called CB Designs. Her jewelry is available at Kolakowski is also the executive assistant to the CEO of Bravado International, which handles entertainment merchandise for superstar acts.

Engineer Kenneth Pappaconstantinou of Burlington, MA, engineered sessions for Big D and the Kids Table at his studio in Arlington, MA. His studio has also recorded and produced more than 15 audio book titles, some of which were best-sellers. Visit

Songwriter David Petrelli of Nashville, TN, released his new EP The Petrelli Project. Visit

Drummer Steve Riley of Los Angeles, CA, owns, a leading Web source for remote-drum kit recording for songwriters, composers, and solo artists. Riley's clients include Latin pop stars Diego Verdaguer and Chris Syler, among others.

David Petrelli '05  

Vocalist Connie Sisco of Minneapolis, MN, collaborated with songwriter Neal Peterson on his latest album release The Persistence of Tides. The recording ill be released in August. Visit


Belly dancer Lauren Boldt of Los Angeles, CA, is on tour with Miles Copeland's Bellydance Superstars. Visit

Guitarist Aurelien Budynek of Astoria, NY, recently performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in South Africa and the Kriol Jazz Festival in Cape Verde with drummer Cindy Blackman '80. Budynek is currently the lead guitarist for the Broadway production Rock of Ages. Visit

Boston-based singer, songwriter and harpist Maeve Gilchrist released her second CD, Song of Delight, in May. The album reflects the deep roots of her Scottish background and her distinctive musical direction.

Drummer Carrie Jahde of Berkeley, CA, is a member of the electro-jazz-funk project Planet Loop. In April the group released its second studio album, Cubed, featuring three different trios recorded on three different days. Visit

David Kaye of Redding, CT, plays banjo, dobro, and pedal-steel guitar with the String Fingers Band with Rob Bonaccorso '92, Dan Tressler, Dan Carlucci, and Ryan McAdams. Their new album Don't Forget is now available at

  Dirk Pate '06

Producer Dirk Pate of Irvine, CA, owns Timeless Music Group LLC. His most recent record was for Lloyd Banks entitled Celebrity featuring Akon. Pate also released the new single "Dance All Night" by Ashley Rodriguez '09 and cowrote and produced her album.

Justine Taormino of Los Angeles, CA, was promoted from intern services coordinator of Berklee's L.A. Internship Program and now serves as the L.A. liaison for alumni affairs at the Berklee Center in Los Angeles. Berklee alumni in Los Angeles and those moving to the area can contact her at

Tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker of Somerville, MA, is mastering a studio and a live album. Tucker is a full-time teacher at for Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program and plays festivals and records with Robin McKelle '99. Visit


Vocalist Elissa Björck (a.k.a. Elodie) of Stockholm, Sweden, recently released a single on Ultra Records with Stellar Project featuring Emelie Norenberg. Visit

Songwriter Megan Burtt of Denver, CO, was the winner of the 2011 Kerrville New Folk Competition. Burtt also performed at the main stage during the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and was a finalist in the Great American Song Contest. Visit

Colin Cannon of New York City performed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, NY, with his quartet. Cannon leads his modern jazz quartet featuring Thomas Hartman '09, Manami Morita '08, and Zachary Croxall '08. The group appears on Cannon's debut album, In Summary. Visit

Wendy Simmons, David Jimenez '06, and David Carroll of Leander, TX, are the group Baby Atlas. They recently released a self-titled debut.

Los Angeles-based group KING, comprising Paris Strother '08, Anita Bias '08, and Amber Strother, opened for Prince's final show of the Welcome 2 America Tour. Meghan Stabile '06 of Revive Music Group manages the soul trio. Visit

Amy Heidemann '08, Nick Noonan '08  

Composer David Watterson of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, composed and recorded "We Will Build the Bridge," the school song for the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, AR. Watterson recently earned his masters degree in public service.


Composer Alfonso "Poncho" Domene of Monterrey, Mexico, and guitarist Andres Zambrano just finished their first season of the acclaimed rock TV show AFD Live. They're promoting their debut album, Al Fondo a la Derecha, mastered by Dominck Malta at Airshow Mastering Inc. in Colorado.

Songwriter Amy Heidemann and her fiancé Nick Noonan make up the group Karmin. In May 2010, they released their first album, Inside Out. The group was recently featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in April 2011 after their cover of "Look at Me Now" received more than 3 million YouTube plays in less than a week. The group is managed by Nils Gums '06.

Vocalist Marcellus Long of Los Angeles, CA, performed in the opening ceremony for the Los Angeles Lakers match-up against the Orlando Magic in March. Long has released his new single "The Price of Fame" via Interscope Digital Distribution. Visit


  From the left: Terri Lyne Carrington '83, Cedric Hanriot '09, and John Patitucci

Pianist and composer Cedric Hanriot of Pont a Mousson, France, released his first album, French Stories, in February 2011. The album features jazz greats Terri Lyne Carrington '83 (drums) and John Patitucci (bass). Visit

Production editor Eric Kalver of Los Angeles, CA, is the choral production editor for school and church music at Alfred Music Publishing Co. in Los Angeles. Last fall, Kalver worked as an orchestrator on the films Skyline and Fast Five, the fifth sequel from the Fast and the Furious series. Visit

Guitarist Dustin Olyan of Toronto, ON, and keyboardist Zachary Tenorio-Miller of Montclair, NJ, performed with the Andrea Belanger Band at Bonnaroo this year. The group traveled from Boston to the festival in Manchester, TN, in a van run solely on waste vegetable oil.


Composer Neil Cleary of Los Angeles, CA, scored the feature-length documentary Age of Champions that premiered at Silverdocs AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in June. Cleary has also written music for several short films and commercials, including spots for Volvo and Fidelity Investments.

Guitarist and songwriter Brian Dunne of Boston, MA, was a featured artist at the Berklee Lunch Sessions at the Prudential Center. Dunne released his self-titled EP last fall. Visit

Oscar Garcia of Pasadena, CA, works as a postproduction audio engineer at Bang Zoom! Entertainment. He works on English localization of anime and video games.

Guitarist Robert Gillies of Stirling, Scotland, is an endorser for Lâg Guitars. Gillies has played extensively throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan. Visit

Guitarist Kenyon Kowal, drummer Ehssan Karimi '11, and bassist Chris Cabrera '11 make up Stellamaze. The group has released its self-titled LP with help from Berklee students Jess Wilkes and Tyler Riccardi.

After auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance?, Patty Ann Miller of Sherman Oaks, CA, was offered a spot on the show.

Violinist Ben Powell has been in Paris studying and playing. He recently performed at the Sunset Sunside Jazz Club in Paris alongside Florin Niculescu, one of the world's preeminent practitioners of gypsy jazz.

Singer and songwriter Hillary Reynolds of Brighton, MA, and her band have released the EP First Loves. Trevor Jarvis '09 and current students Jeff Hale and Ben Kopf are members of her band.

Neara Russell '10  

Songwriter Neara Russell of Los Angeles, CA, is the keyboardist and background vocalist for Sony/J Records artist BC Jean. The group performed in June on The View. The Universidad Nacional de Villa Maria wind ensemble, which was conducted by faculty member Gregory Fritze, premiered Russell's Funk Happy for chamber ensemble in Argentina. Visit

Elevation Theory, a Boston-based band, finished up a Canadian tour with Jordan Knight. The group made its American TV debut on July 18 with Knight on Lopez Tonight. Band members include Kirjuan Freeman '10, Sean Wright '09, Keithen Foster '10, Justin Faulkner '10, Phillip Young '09, Derrick White '10, Alex Potts '10, Nero Tindal '09, Anthony Truss '09; and Berklee students Devon Parker, JoJo Streater, Enoghene Ajueyitsi, and Matthew Johnson. Visit


Vocalist Julia Easterlin of Boston, MA, will perform at Lollapalooza this summer. Easterlin has been featured on several Berklee albums including Dorm Sessions 7 and Heavy Rotation's Under the Influence. Visit

Singer, guitarist and songwriter Emily Elbert of Coppell, TX, was chosen as one of Glamour magazine's Top 10 College Women 2010. Elbert also released the album Proof this year. Visit

Kelsey Michaelson of Los Angeles, CA, landed a job at Career Artist Management as a tour marketing assistant.

Guitarist and songwriter Ken Yates of London, ON, has been touring Canada and the East Coast since graduating. John Mayer recently blogged about Yates and his newest single "I Don't Wanna Fall in Love." Visit