Tag Archive | "frost school of music"

Berg Named Artistic Advisor of JAZZ ROOTS

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Berg Named Artistic Advisor of JAZZ ROOTS


Special to UM News

Shelton D. 'Shelly" Berg

Shelton G. ‘Shelly’ Berg

MIAMI, Fla. (July 12, 2016)—The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County has appointed Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg as artistic advisor for its thrilling six-concert JAZZ ROOTS 2016-2017 season. A world-renowned musician, composer, and educator, Berg has been involved as a collaborator on JAZZ ROOTS since its inception. The Arsht Center invited Berg to expand his role to include assisting with creative direction for the series following the passing in 2015 of JAZZ ROOTS co-founder and co-creator Larry Rosen, with whom Berg also collaborated for many years.

The ninth season of JAZZ ROOTS will launch befittingly with an all-star tribute to Rosen, commissioned especially for the 10th anniversary of the Arsht Center. The extraordinary season will continue with five musically diverse concerts, each starring some of the most celebrated headliners in the music industry today.

“It is hard to imagine JAZZ ROOTS without Larry Rosen,” said John Richard, president and CEO of the Arsht Center. “Together we realized a vision that has become one of the most celebrated jazz series in the world. In passing the torch to Dean Berg, the 2016-2017 season promises to reach the high standards of musicality and diversity that have become the mainstay of the concert and educational series that has established the Arsht Center as one of the most recognized concert halls in the world for jazz. Shelly has long been part of our JAZZ ROOTS family, and we are excited to welcome him as our new artistic advisor.”

“Larry and I shared so many visions over our many years of friendship and working together, most notably our love of jazz, educating young people about jazz, and creating an awareness among the masses about the roots of America’s true art form,” Berg said. “While I am so saddened he is no longer with us both personally and professionally, I am honored the Arsht Center has entrusted me to take the helm of the extraordinary program he set forth. I look forward to paying tribute to Larry in our opening concert and presenting all the exciting shows we have scheduled this upcoming season.”

A four-time Grammy nominee who was named one of the “educators of the millennium” by the Los Angeles Times, Berg has recorded and performed with many diverse artists, including Gloria Estefan, Renee Fleming, KISS, Chicago, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. He composed a piece for the Dali Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles, in addition to composing for top network television series and major studio films.

For the JAZZ ROOTS 2016-17 lineup visit the Adrienne Arsht Center.

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‘Jazz Latino’ Explores the Cuban Connection

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‘Jazz Latino’ Explores the Cuban Connection


UM News

Jazz.LatinoCORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 1, 2016) – The Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) has produced and released  “Jazz Latino,” a video that tells the story of the music genre’s connection to Cuba through interviews and performances with prominent jazz performers, producers, and musicians, including such notables as Paquito D’Rivera, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Nat Chediak, and John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie.

“We felt that it was important to tell the story of Latin jazz from its infancy to its present state and to highlight the exceptional role that Cuba and Cuban musicians had in its development,” said Jaime Suchlicki, director of ICCAS. “It is a testament to Cuban creativity and talent.”

The 31-minute Spanish-language video is narrated by Jorge Sotolongo, a Cuban-American filmmaker and journalist who created the video and conducted several of the interviews. Using archival footage, historical pictures, and original interviews, the film chronicles the history of jazz, beginning with the blending of African roots and European and American influences and how it morphed into what today is known as Latin jazz.

In a candid interview, Frost School of Music Professor Raul Murciano details how  jazz Latino originated from different African rhythms slaves brought to Cuba, and how it was later married to European classical music and other American genres, such as spirituals and blues. The film provides a comprehensive overview of the jazz era and its influencers, including short performances by Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Ed Calle, and de Rivera.

The video features a seminal interview with Gillespie, in which the legendary jazz trumpeter reminisces about meeting Luciano Pozo González, better known as “Chano Pozo,” the famous Afro-Cuban percussionist and composer with whom Gillespie created Latin jazz.

The video is available for sale for $20 by contacting ICCAS at 305-284-2822 or iccas@miami.edu .

 

 

 

 

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Frost Wind Ensemble Selected for Prestigious Performance

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Frost Wind Ensemble Selected for Prestigious Performance


UM News

frost wind ensembleCORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 3, 2016) — The Frost Wind Ensemble is one of nine ensembles from around the country selected through a blind audio recording adjudication process to perform next March at the College Band Directors National Association Conference in Kansas City’s renowned Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “This year was particularly competitive in part due to the location,” said Robert Carnochan, the ensemble’s director and conductor. Guest solo artists, including Frost School of Music faculty Margaret Donaghue, on clarinet, and Svetoslav Stoyanov, on percussion, will join about 60 students for their performance.

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Frost Online Among Musical America’s Best

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Frost Online Among Musical America’s Best


By Andres Tamayo
UM News

 Frost.OnlineCORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 8, 2016)—For the second year in a row, Musical America has included the Frost School of Music in its annual “Special Report: A Guide to Music Schools.” The Frost School joins 37 other distinguished music schools and conservatories from around the world in the 2015-16 guide.

The list, which was compiled based on online education in music schools, highlights the Frost Online program. The program, which started with three students in August 2014, will graduate its first class in May. “My colleagues and I are thrilled to be a part of this distinguished list and enthusiastic about the future growth of the Frost Online program,” Frost School Dean Shelly Berg said.

Frost Online has grown rapidly and now offers two complete master’s degrees in music business—a Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries and a Master of Arts in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management. Both programs draw industry professionals from around the U.S. Soon, offerings will continue to grow with certificate programs and additional degree tracks.

“Since our inception in 1926, students have looked to the Frost School of Music as a place where they can grow and learn from some of the best music professors in the world,” Dean Berg said. “The Frost Online program provides those same high-quality, high-touch experiences in the online space.”

For more than 100 years, Musical America Worldwide has been the voice of the performing arts industry. Musical America provides the digital and print touch points for performing arts professionals to reach out to each other to further their art and their businesses.

 

 

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UM’s Brothers Grim Are Sundance Bound

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UM’s Brothers Grim Are Sundance Bound


By Julia D. Berg
UM News

Boniato4

From left, co-directors Eric Mainade, Andres Meza-Valdes, and Diego Meza-Valdes are headed to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to screen their horror short.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 13, 2016) – University of Miami School of Communication alumni The Meza Brothers, a.k.a. Andres Meza-Valdes, B.S.C. ’09, and Diego Meza-Valdes, B.S.C. ’09, are headed to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to showcase Boniato, their 23-minute short horror film featuring migrant workers on a boniato (sweet potato) farm who cross borders into a supernatural world, a metaphor for the murky underground network into which many undocumented workers fall.

This is the Meza Brothers’ eighth short in the horror genre and the first they’ve co-directed with seasoned stuntman/action director Eric Mainade, who came up with the initial story concept.

Excitement was running high in December as news of Boniato’s selection by Sundance—launched by Hollywood legend Robert Redford and held annually in January in Park City, Utah—rippled through Miami’s indie film community.

“All I kept yelling was ‘No! No!,” recounts Andres Meza-Valdes, 31, about the moment he heard the official news by phone from Lucas Leyva of the Borscht Corp., an open-source collaborative funded in part by the Knight Foundation to help seed interdisciplinary collaboration and regional filmmaking in Miami.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Meza-Valdes said. “I was with my parents, so they got the scoop firsthand, which is cool because it was nice to share the moment with them. Then, I called my girlfriend. You know, the important people in my life who have contributed for so many years and had to put up with the craziness and stress that come with making an independent film in Miami!”

His co-director and younger brother, Diego, 30, admits he “cried, for real” upon receiving the news. “It’s the coolest thing to happen to our career so far.”

Boniato is one of just eight short films selected for screening January 22-29 in the Midnight Shorts category at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. A total of 72 short films will be screened, selected from 8,712 short film submissions; 123 feature-length films were selected from 12,793 submissions.

The siblings had to wait a few weeks for the official announcement. “It was a bit of torture,” said Andres. “We even thought at any minute one of our friends was going to reveal it was all a big prank. When it became public, it felt like a sigh of relief. We called everyone: the actors (Carmela Zumbado, Felix Cortes, Alex Garay), our DP, ADs, PAs, friends, extended family, haters on the Internet. I even wrote to one of my heroes, [director/producer] Michael Bay. He doesn’t know who I am, but I wanted to tell everyone who inspired and/or helped me out.”

The Boniato project—singled out for awards last year at the Diabolique International Film Festival, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Fright Night Horror Weekend, and Freakshow Film Festivalbenefitted from having an experienced producer, fellow alumnus Cory Czajkowski, B.S.C. ’07, on the team. “Cory is a special dude,” said Andres. “On top of being producer, he works on the sound, and with horror/action this is so important.”

In addition, two UM Frost School of Music jazz alumni, Adam Robl, ’07, and Shawn Sutta, B.M. ’09, composed the music tracks for the film. “These guys are just A-plus talent,” said Andres. “They really helped make the whole movie feel ‘big’ and delivered a production value we could only dream of achieving.”

For those squeamish about watching horror films, Diego suggests the genre is innate in fairy tales. “Our culture has always been fascinated with dipping our toes in fear. So when people say they aren’t fans of horror, I always ask if they’ve seen Snow White or Sleeping Beauty.”

Diego explains that when shooting Boniato, the team was striving to create a plot that is more similar to the European or Asian style, where tension builds more gradually than in typical American horror flicks. “We wanted to create an entertaining horror roller coaster, using socially relevant content, driven by fantasy.” To add to the film’s intrigue, there is purposely very little dialogue during the first five minutes; then all of the dialogue is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

“We like to call it ‘theater in front of the lens,’ ” said Diego. “For Boniato, Eric Mainade brought in his amazing stunt team to perform acrobatic action, high-flying choreography, and horror sequences—but he was also making sure to give the characters true motivations, and making them feel grounded. That way, the audience cares about what they’re watching.”

Mainade came up with the original script concept while driving to a movie shoot on the small ranch he and a fellow stuntman lease amid the massive, commercial fields in southwest Miami-Dade County.

“Day after day, I witness all sorts of surreal moments out in the fields—from barefoot Haitians working in horrid conditions, to little kids working all day in the elements. Every character in this movie was inspired by the countless faces in these very fields,” he said.

The Miami-based Borscht Corp. hooked him up with The Meza Brothers, and the three fleshed out the script, with a production estimate of $14,000. Borscht Corp. provided some initial financing and a few production aides, and introduced them to cinematographer Antal El Hungaro. “Beyond that,” Mainade explains, “it was a family affair, with my wife, Kristina, as the production manager; Diego’s wife, Veronica, in charge of wardrobe; as well as numerous other friends and family doing whatever needed to be done.”

After Sundance, the team plans to adapt Boniato into a feature.

As a youngster, Andres was drawn to exploring the horror genre. Diego was quick to join in his brother’s pursuit. “I’m the classic little brother who tailed after my big brother. My brother and I have been directing films together for so long, it’s almost as if each of us has evolved into the counterpart of the other. He was always including me in his love, so as a brother I am forever grateful for that.”

Andres describes his younger brother as relentless, honest, and giving. “Diego is an editing machine,” Andres said. “He looks at film in a radically different way than me, and I love that. He puts the film together in his head when on set.”

Reflecting on how the School of Communication prepared them for a career in motion pictures, Andres is effusive. “Oh my God—in so many ways. Ed Talavera, Christina Lane, Jeffery Stern, Tom Musca—these professors changed our lives.” Diego has continued his connection to the University and works as a videographer in University Communications.

This is not their first award-winning work, but it is their first time at Sundance.

“We were not expecting this at all,” said Andres. “Horror isn’t the most respected of genres and after making eight shorts we’ve sort of made peace with the fact that a lot of mainstream outlets just aren’t interested in these types of films. On the other hand, the genre also has it’s own ecosystem and community that we love being a part of.”

 

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