Berklee Summer in the CityDaniel Rotem
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Born in 1990, saxophonist Daniel Rotem was accepted into the Thelma Yellin High School for Arts in Tel Aviv. As a member of Thelma Yellin's Big Band, Rotem performed at two international events: the IAJE Annual Conference in Toronto and the SAJE in Capetown. He was also awarded an honors scholarship for 2007-2008 at the Shtricker Conservatory in Tel Aviv and a scholarship for the Berklee Summer Performance Program. He graduated with honors from Thelma Yellin's Jazz Program in 2008.
Rotem was recognized as an Outstanding Musician by the Israel Defense Force (IDF), a privilege granted only to a handful of applicants every year, and allowed to further pursue his interest and talent in music and jazz. During his mandatory military service (2008–2011) Rotem was the leader of a saxophone trio, responsible for marketing the group to different target audiences by creating presentations; initiating rehearsals, recordings, and production sessions; and handling logistics involved with performances all over Israel: setting performance schedules, determining the repertoire for performances, and arranging pieces in a variety of music styles for the group.
In 2009 the Berklee College of Music World Tour arrived in Israel, and after attending auditions Rotem was awarded a full-tuition scholarship. During 2009–2010 he studied at Israel's Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he was awarded a scholarship and had the chance to develop his performance and improvisation skills as well as his composing and arranging abilities.
In January 2010 Rotem had the privilege to meet and perform with saxophonist David Liebman. It was a special experience for him, especially due to the fact that a group tutored by Liebman performed one of his arrangements of a Liebman composition.
The youngest student to reach the finals, Rotem was awarded first place in Rimon's Outstanding Jazz Player Competition. Consequently he had the honor of representing Rimon at the 20th IASJ meeting in the Hague, where he once again met Liebman and had the opportunity to play in an ensemble headed by Reggie Workman.
In the summer of 2009 Rotem participated in the Siena Jazz Workshops, held in Siena, Italy. He had the opportunity to play and study with Lionel Loueke, George Garzone, Scott Colley, John Taylor, and Michael Blake. Upon completing the workshops, Rotem was offered a full scholarship to return for the 2010 program, where he met some of his former teachers but also played and performed with Kenny Werner, Peter Bernstein, Eric Harland, Joel Frahm, and Jeremy Pelt.
In May 2011 Rotem started full-time studies at Berklee towards a bachelor's degree in music and jazz performance, and completed his first two semesters on the school's dean's list. He has performed at different Berklee venues with numerous ensembles, including the Rainbow Big Band led by Phil Wilson, the Concert Jazz Band led by Greg Hopkins (with which he performed and was featured as a soloist in a concert with the great drummer Peter Erskine), and as a featured guest at a joint performance with India.Arie and Israeli composer-singer Idan Raichel. (Rotem also played at concerts with the Idan Raichel Project in Israel in 2011.) Other teachers Rotem has studied and played with at Berklee include Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Jim Odgren, Ed Tomassi, and Shannon LeClaire.
In January 2012 Rotem performed with the Concert Jazz Band at the JEN (Jazz Education Network) conference in Louisville Kentucky and was a featured soloist. He was also chosen as a finalist in the live auditions for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance master's program held in Los Angeles during February 2012. He was awarded the America-Israel Foundation scholarship for 2010–2011 and 2011–2012, and he is currently studying with Bill Pierce and George Garzone.