Welcome to Class Notes online—a space for you to post your news and read about your classmates' recent activities.
News from your classmates
Michael Lisicky '86 is an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Also a nationally recognized department store historian, Lisicky released his fourth book, 'Filene's: Boston's Great Specialty Store', on May 21, 2012. He had previously written bestselling books on Hutzler's, Wanamaker's, and Gimbels department stores. Lisicky will be lecturing on Filene's at the Old South Meeting House on July 24 and at the Boston Public Library on August 23. His past books have received acclaim by Fortune Magazine, Investors' Business Daily, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His book, 'Gimbels Has It', was nominated on NPR's Morning Edition as "one of the best reads of 2012". The Filene's book was recently featured in the Boston Herald. His books are available through local bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble stores, and the publishers' websites. Michael resides in Baltimore with his wife, Sandra Gerster '83 M.M., and daugher Jordan. Sandra teaches oboe at Peabody and the Baltimore School for the Arts, and is also a regular substitute with the BSO (Baltimore). There is no coincidence that their daughter Jordan has the same name as Jordan Hall and Jordan Marsh. 2012-05-23
Avram Fefer '86 is an instrumentalist, composer and bandleader who has been performing and recording internationally since 1990. He has led or co-led bands through ten highly regarded albums, and contributed to numerous others as sideman. With a distinctive voice on alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones, as well as Bb and bass clarinet, he brings depth, intelligence, and soulfulness to every situation he's in. These include performances and recordings of straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz, as well as jazz-funk, West and North African music, modern orchestral music, and music for theater. His latest CD, Eliyahu (NotTwo Records 2011), is his tenth release as a leader and features his trio with long-time collaborators --- bassist Eric Revis and drummer Chad Taylor. Building on the strength of their previous release, Ritual ( Clean Feed Records 2009 ), Eliyahu presents nine original compositions and reinforces the group's status as one of the scene's preeminent sax-bass-drum trios.
Currently residing in New York City, Avram followed his studies at NEC (‘86) by moving to Paris in 1990, where his professional career really began. There he performed with numerous musicians, such as Bobby Few, Jean Jacques Avenal, Sunny Murray, John Betsch, Kirk Lightsey, and Oliver Johnson, as well as a number of North and West African musicians. He also recorded with The Last Poets, Steve McCraven and Archie Shepp, as well as two top-selling albums for Virgin France.
Since moving to back to the states in 1995, he has led several groups of his own, and has performed in many others — the David Murray Big Band, Adam Rudolph’s Organic Orchestra, Butch Morris Orchestra, Joseph Bowie Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Frank Lacy's Vibe Tribe, Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra, and Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar. His four CD releases with legendary 76 year old pianist Bobby Few received critical acclaim and resulted in several international tours and festivals, and his two latest trio CD’s, led to successful performances in Europe and the US in 2010 and 2011. Avram has performed in sixteen countries around the world, has published poetry and essays, has appeared in several film documentaries, and recently played and acted on stage in award-winning director Melvin Van Peebles’ theatrical production of Sweet Sweetbacks Baaadaaaas Song. He also loves teaching and maintains a thriving private teaching practice in downtown Manhattan. 2011-12-13
Fusao Kajima ’86 is currently the conductor of National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra; He just finished a series of performances from a subscription concert featuring Sarah Chang, a special event with the world premier of “Prayer,” a work commemorating Taiwan’s Centennial, and finally two programs for the Asian Composers' League conference. A future collaboration includes a Japanese tsugaru-shamisen master Shin-ichi Kinoshita in Taiwan and a premier of “Ito-dama” by a Japanese composer, Kaoru Wada. 2011-12-13
Ben Schwendener ’86 recently released Industrial Folk Music. The double CD is a “Concept album” and is the culmination of a five-year project. The album utilizes both vintage analog and acoustic instruments and is performed and recorded live by a world-class sextet including NEC alumni Eric Lane '09, Bridget Kearney ’08, Bhob Rainey '97 M.M., Michael Calabrese ’07, and Gregg Ramsey. Ben, a jazz pianist, performs on Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos from the early 70's along with analog synths from the same era. He currently serves on NEC’s faculty and resides in Jamaica Plain, MA. For more information go to: www.benschwendener.com. 2011-12-01
Heng-Jin Park '86, ’89 M.M. was recently appointed as Artistic Director of the Killington Music Festival in Vermont. Park is currently on faculty with the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. 2011-11-17
In April, 2009, violist Elisa Birdseye ’86 performed with pianist (and former NEC faculty member) Virginia Eskin on the program “Music in the Spirit of Zora” at UMass Boston. The program consisted of pieces written by black composers that were inspired by themes from the life of Zora Neale Hurston. The program was a part of The Big Read – Boston, a joint venture of the NEA and WUMB. Elisa coordinated all Boston Public Library programs affiliated with this event. 2009-08-18
Christopher Marrion ’86 was named the new Director of Development for the Silk Road Project, a not-for-profit arts, cultural, and educational organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma and based in Providence, R.I. Before joining the Silk Road Project, Christopher worked for the Boston Lyric Opera for six years. 2009-08-14
Dave Finucane ’86 is currently teaching at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He teaches saxophone, a jazz improvisation class, and small jazz ensembles. Dave released a CD titled Valerie’s Song, which is available on CDBaby.com. He and his wife Valerie Courreges live in Durham with their two sons, Anton and Sebastian. 2009-08-04
Help find your lost classmates
Unfortunately, NEC has lost touch with some of your classmates. If you have e-mail or other contact information for any of the people listed below, please let us know so that we can keep them informed of reunions and other NEC activities.
Maria I. Benitez, Wha Jun Chu, Rick G. DellaRatta, Aydin Esen, Clifford Gerard Feehan, Maria Isabel Gomez, Ashildur Haraldsdottir, Takaoki Ishihara, Heather M. Jackson, Fusao Kajima, Sun Mi Kang, Mary Eleanor Kelley, Eleanor Kelly, Sung-Youn Veronica Kim, Kumiko Kishi, Jong Yong Lee, Hye Jung Lee, Yoon-Jung Lee, Judith Montel, Elizabeth O'Hamill, Hye-Sook Ryu, Nailson De Almeida Simoes, Harry J Skoler, Dean Snogren, Linda Tai, Yoshiko Tamai, Tracey Ann Webb-Kolbinger, Beverly Yee, Chung-Gin Yun.