Boston, MA, October 29, 2007 — For the first time, Berklee College of Music students have been invited to perform at the annual Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and Trustees Award ceremony, being held Wednesday, November 7, in Las Vegas, NV. An eight-piece student group, under the direction of Berklee professors Oscar Stagnaro and Bernardo Hernandez, will perform a musical tribute to this year’s honorees: Alberto Cortez, Lucho Gatica, Olga Guillot, Los Tigres del Norte, Os Paralamas do Sucesso and Chavela Vargas, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; and João Araújo, Leopoldo Federico, and Fernando Hernández, who will be honored with the Trustees Award.
The unique opportunity to perform at this prestigious event has been over a year in the making, and involved close collaboration between students and faculty at the college. Last year, students Javier Samayoa and Daniel Diaz, leaders of the Latin American Music and Business Club, approached Professor Peter Alhadeff, Secretary of the Association of Latin Faculty, to help them attend the 2006 Latin Grammy Awards. Within hours of contacting Luis Dousdebes, chief financial officer of the Latin Recording Academy, the student club was invited to the ceremony.
Says Alhadeff; “The Academy recognized that Berklee has students from many Latin American countries that will be future leaders in the industry.” The connection was auspicious: the students gained a valuable learning and networking experience, and the Latin Recording Academy acquired two dozen new members from among Berklee’s large and diverse Latin student population.
This year, the club was again invited to attend the Latin Grammy Awards, but Dousdebes went one huge step further, asking Alhadeff to provide a student band for the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony. The Berklee band will perform a medley of each of the honoree’s music on stage just prior to the recipient’s acceptance. Stagnaro, professor of bass, and Hernandez, assistant professor of contemporary writing, were tapped by Alhadeff to recruit the group. They hand-picked some of the most talented musicians and arrangers at the college to handle the demands of quickly learning several compositions by nine different artists in a wide variety of styles, including tango, salsa, boleros, Latin rock, and regional Mexican rancheras. Says Alhadeff; “It’s an incredible learning experience for the students. It is very challenging music.”
The band is comprised of students from Latin America and other countries around the world, and includes violinists Ariadna Rodriguez Cima, from Spain; and Mayrene Alexandra Morel Caraballo, from the Dominican Republic; flutist, saxophonist, and pianist Enrique K. Trinidad, from Puerto Rico; cellist Yi-Ting Yang, from Taiwan; guitarist Lourenco Bittencourt Rebetez, from Brazil; percussionist Paulo Stagnaro, from Peru; bassist Andres Rotmistrovsky, from Argentina; and violist Dae Hee Kim, from South Korea. Arrangers for the project included Hernandez, and students Rotmistrovsky, Juan Andres Ospina, Tomas Altamirano, and Jose Sigona Garcia.