Ian Brekke Featured in The Independent

Alumnus Ian Brekke, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Las Posits College lead his students in a concert entitled “More Intensely, More Beautifully, More Devotedly.” Ian is quoted about the concert: “We have had a difficult year of senseless acts committed inside school grounds, an unfortunate trend that continues to shake all of us. We’ve prepared a concert series meant to uplift and inspire the members of the community. We are fortunate that music is such a wonderful medium for communicating and sharing emotion, a sort of exaggerated method of conversation. This is our conversation with our community, to give the gift of music to those that may need it.”

Photo – Doug Jorgensen

Amanda Duncan Featured in When Steel Talks

Alumnus Amanda Duncan was interviewed by “When Steel Talks” for their Women In Pan feature. The article goes into depth about Amanda’s experiences playing pan. She says, “In any subject or discipline, experiencing something is the best way to learn about it, as opposed to reading about it in a book or watching a video. I’ve known for a long time about the Trinidadian way of approaching music and Panorama, but I couldn’t fully absorb and deeply internalize what I knew to be true until I experienced it myself in the Silver Stars yard. I now feel like I’m slowly starting to “get it” on a deep internal level, and in my classroom I feel like I’m starting to teach this music with less of an “accent.” I will never know the steel pan, culturally-speaking, as deeply as Trinidadians because I am an American, of course, and wasn’t born into the culture from which the pan was cultivated. I will always “have an accent” when I play and when I teach. However, approaching music and Panorama through the Trinidadian lens, after having been to Trinidad and performed in Panorama myself, feels more intuitive than it did before. I’ve slowly started to absorb a bit of the “Trinidadian way” into my teaching language and foundation.”


Man Covets Bird Model Show for 99-Seat LA Theater

In an KCRW article on 99-seat theaters in Los Angeles, “Man Covets Bird” with alumnus Leeav Sofer became the centerpiece in how to do small theater well.

“If you want to see the kind of show I’m talking about go see “Man Covets Bird” at 24th Street Theatre. Here’s a ‘kid’s show’ that transcends the expectations of youth theater and creates a beautiful journey about the importance of not losing your passion in the face of a ‘button pushing job’ and the sadness and joy of letting a dear friend make his own way in the world. It’s a magical piece of theater and it’s only playing to 99 seats in one corner of our city. Here’s a show that’s worthy of a citywide audience, one that doesn’t already go to the theater. To 24th Street’s credit, they not only know that but have creatively extended this show for six Sundays this spring.”

Amanda Duncan Interviewed by Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian interviewed alumna Amanda Duncan for an article called “The Joy of Pan.” Liam Teague, who has visited CSULB, organized several Americans to attend “Panorama,” a huge steel pan festival. Amanda performed with his PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars Steel Orchestra. She is quoted as saying, “I started playing steel pan in my first year in university in 2004, at California State University, Long Beach. “Performing on finals night was by far the greatest musical experience of my life. Sharing that stage with so many other people who love pan as much as I do was indescribable, and there is nothing at home in the US that comes close to that kind of performance.”

Leeav Sofer Featured in Jewish Journal

The Jewish Journal features alumnus Leeav Sofer in a profile on his work at Colburn School, Mostly Kosher, and the re-opened play at 24th Street Theatre: Man Covets Bird. In the article, Debbie Devine, Chair of the Colburn School drama department is quoted as saying the Leeav is “a life force with a tremendous amount of skills.” The feature also notes, “Following its televised performance as part of the Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mostly Kosher bookings have exploded. The band is planning a tour to the Bay Area in June to headline the Silicon Valley Jewish Music Festival.”

Melinda Ehrlich Featured by Pacific Opera Project

Melinda Ehrlich Trimble was featured on the Pacific Opera Project’s (POP) Facebook page. “Mindi returns to POP to sing and dance as Maxim’s showgirl from the Far East, Cio-Cio. They wrote of her, “Described by the Long Beach Grunion Gazette as “astonishing, a large, gleaming soprano secure from top to bottom and thrilling to hear” in the role of Vitellia from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, Melinda Ehrlich has established herself as a voice to hear in Southern California and beyond.

The 2014 LA International Liszt Competition winner most recently appeared in the chorus of critically acclaimed The Christians at the Mark Taper Forum and the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s nominee for Best Musical Annabella. 2015 also marked her debut with Center Stage Opera in Into The Woods, as well as with Pacific Opera Project in its Star Trek-inspired Abduction from the Seraglio. Last spring, Ms. Ehrlich ventured to New Orleans to sing Mme. Herz in Mozart’s Impresario. She has also appeared with Long Beach Opera, Pacific Symphony, and Repertory Opera, and her repertoire includes roles such as Micaela in Carmen, Violetta in La traviata, Pamina and Papagena in The Magic Flute, and the title role in Suor Angelica.”"

Dolfo Picanço Featured in Paper

Alumnus Dolfo Picanço was featured in Millikan High’s school paper in an article. The drum major, Kai Bauer said, “Mr. P actually exceed my expectations…” He has “the competitive edge that lights a fire in us, something that hasn’t happened here in the past three years, What we’re doing here is the start of something great.” We have a three-alumni team at Milikan with Renee Batia, Drake York, and Dolfo Picanço teaching music there.

Ryan Ross Featured in Hometown Paper

Alumnus Ryan Ross’s hometown paper, the Lyon Country Reporter, published a retrospective of his career to date. The article notes his study at the Bob Cole Conservatory and his successes, such as singing “Fiddler on the Roof” with Bryn Terfel at the Royal Albert Hall in London for an audience of 6,000. After graduating from the Wales International Academy of Voice, Ryan has gone on to an international career in opera.

Jazz at the Beach in Inside CSULB

Jazz at the Beach is featured in August’s Inside CSULB. Author Rick Manly notes: “Professional recognition has been consistent including the program’s recent receipt of five Downbeat Magazine awards naming the Concert Jazz Orchestra for the second year as Best Large Jazz Ensemble in the Graduate College category. And Christine Guter has led the vocal jazz program to four consecutive Downbeat wins in the Graduate College Vocal Jazz Category.”

Leaav Sofer Featured as Colburn Glee Choir Director

Angeles Magazine featured the  Colburn’s Glee Choir directed by Alumnus Leaav Sofer in the Oct 10th issue. The article notes of Leaav, “He takes time in every rehearsal to teach music theory, and students visit the keyboard lab to practice playing piano.

“I’m trying to equip them so they can actually be musicians, not just choir singers,” said Sofer, who is planning to concentrate on American folk-themed songs for fall and songs with love themes for spring.”



Run River North Profiled in Wall Street Journal

Run River North with BCCM violinist Jennifer North was profiled in the Wall Street Journal. Their first album was released in February and they played to a sold-out Troubador for their release party.
As is noted in the article, “The band devoted the past year to writing new songs, recording an album and building its fan base. This year, after touring across the U.S., the group will perform in several countries in Asia, where Warner Music Group will release its album.”
Photo credit: Winni Wintermeyer for The Wall Street Journal

Nicola Said Featured in Maltese Paper

The Malta Sunday Circle Magazine ran a feature on Alumna Nicola Said during a recent visit home to the island. When asked to give advice to young musicians, she responded “…just enjoy the journey! So much of the time we spend worrying about the future and whether this is going to happen, we forget to enjoy the moment.”

The article notes upcoming performances: a recital at St James Cavalier (Malta) and the Valletta International Baroque Festival in January, a recital of music by Maltese Composers at St. John’s Waterloo in February, and a summer concert in Bath.