We Demonstrate Great Pride in all of our Alumni Pros, who, for a half century, ‘have had a profound effect’ upon the landscape of modern American music

‘A Story That Needs To Be Told’

Peter Ballin 1973  All Reed Instruments

See Biography: 1973 website yearbook


Peter is a versatile musician whose wide professional experience ranges from performance to recording to teaching; from Jazz to Jingles to Rock. He teaches Jazz Improvisation, He presents clinics throughout Europe and the U.S. He performs on a wide array of instruments, including the saxophones (tenor, alto, soprano), the oboe and English horn, the flutes (piccolo, c, and alto), the clarinet and the Akai E.W.I. (Electronic Woodwind Instrument) with digital and analog synthesizers and digital samplers.

Rob Bargad 1980  Piano

See Biography: 1980 website yearbook

Rob Bargad

Rob Bargad with David Schumacher (1978)


Rob Bargad’s personal biography is extensive. Rob has toured and/or recorded with many jazz luminaries. He has toured the USA, Europe and Japan and has extensive recordings. His original songs have been recorded by him and other artists on several CDs and used in several films. In 1984 he began his jazz career accompanying Little Jimmy Scott and Dakota Staton in New York City. From 1990-2000 Rob was pianist in the Nat Adderley Quintet, featuring at various times Vincent Herring, Sonny Fortune, Junior Cook, Antonio Hart, Marc Gross, Donald Harrison, Walter Booker, Jimmy Cobb, James Genus and Billy Drummond, touring the USA, Europe and Japan, and recording 8 CDs. In 2005 Rob became Prof. of Jazz Piano at Kärntner Landeskonservatorium and as of school year 2019/20 is Senior Lecturer at Gustav Mahler Privatuniversität für Musik in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Southern Austria, where he teaches jazz piano and improvisation and directs three student ensembles.

Howard Berkson 1976  Bass

See Autobiography: 1976 website yearbook


Howard conceived and built Anthology, a 325 seat Supper Club Jazz Emporium in San Diego. Based on the many accolades, of both jazz aficionados, and national/international jazz artists, who performed at Anthology, Howard’s achievement is his dream realized. Howard closed and sold Anthology in 2013. He has been asked by the Library of Congress to donate his artist performance videos to their collection.

Some of the legendary jazz artists that performed at Anthology included Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea solo (and with Return to Forever members Stanley Clarke and Lenny White), Freddie Hubbard, Al Di Meola, Benny Golson, Bill Frisell, Bobby Hutcherson, Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Joe Levano, Eddie Harris, Gary Burton, Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Joey DeFrancesco, John Pizzarelli, John Scofield, Kenny Garrett, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell, Lee Ritenhour, Lenny White, McCoy Tyner, Natalie Cole, Nathan East, John Scofield, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny, Phil Woods, Ramsey Lewis, Rufus Reed, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Steve Carlton, Terence Blanchard, among others.

Alan Berliant 1981  Bass
See Biography: 1981 website yearbook
Alan is a touring/studio bassist with many varied artists, as well as a first call session bassist on hundreds of commercial jingles, recording on various, including a trio with George McRae (NTW alum), on a record with Mavis Staples Live with Rachael Yamagata, at the University of Illinois Pavilion, Steve Mullen at Radio City Music Hall, and Sinead O’Connor at Metro in Chicago among others.
Alan has recorded and performed with The Way Moves and can be heard on several of their albums. He toured with that group for several years.
Moving to the composition side of commercial music, and along with his writing partner, Matt Walker (NTW alum – Drums), formed Cadre Music.
As a composer Alan’s has been featured in many television commercials as well as the music cues for various television shows including Gotham, Odd Mom Out, Teen Mom, Ridiculousness and Catfish. His compositions have also been used in feature films including Johnny Knoxville’s, Being Evil, a documentary on Evel Knievel, and Happy Death Day.
After reconnecting with Tony Magee, and Jim Widlowski, Northern Illinois University music school contemporaries, he tours throughout the world playing Tony’s brand of Americana.
Currently, Alan is the bassist for the band Sons of the Silent Age, which performs the musical canon of David Bowie to audiences worldwide.

Brad Boehm 1973  Trumpet


Brad Boehm was the 1976 Mock Audition winner for the International Trumpet Guild’s conference and enjoyed a very active performing career. In addition to the quintet Brad performed with the Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera, Chicago Ballet Orchestra, and the Chicago Pops.

Steve Eisen 1971

Tenor Sax, Soprano, flute, oboe, percussion

See Biography: 1971 website yearbook



Eric Hochberg (1970) and Steve Eisen:

Member of the band Ides of March, Appearances with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, can be heard on a multitude of Recordings. Steve is based in the Chicago area. His musical contributions, on tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, percussion and just about anything else he can get his hands on has made him a force to be reckoned with in Chicago music.

Doug Fox 1970  Trumpet     

See Biography: 1970 website yearbook

Doug has been in the music field for about 40 years. He has done studio-work as a professional trumpet player — playing with the likes of Doc Severinsen, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond.

Presently he is the Instrumental Music Director/Arranger/ Trumpet player for Christ Church in Lake Forest

Doug was a 39 Year Member of the prestigious North Shore Concert Band. He also served for 14 years as band leader at Hawthorn Hills Community Church in Libertyville, IL.

Doug has a strong passion for music-worship; believing that music can be and is worship. Now, through Playing It Forward — he has dedicated himself to organizing talents and music in order to serve the community.

Mike Friedman 1976  Drums

See Biography: 1976 website yearbook

Grammy award winner Michael Friedman’s early career was divided between New York, and Chicago, with performances in both jazz groups and Broadway shows. He has performed with many jazz artists including, among others, James Moody, Eddie Harris, Doc Cheatham, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Little Jimmy Scott, and Gunther Schuller’s Ellington Repertory Orchestra.
His Broadway performances include Les Miserable, Evita, and A Chorus Line. He toured with the Broadway Musical Annie and did a six-month Japanese tour with The King and I, featuring Stacey Keach.

In 1993 Michael launched the jazz record label, Premonition Records. Premonition’s releases include the 1994 release of Café Blue by vocalist/pianist Patricia Barber. Premonition’s artist/label relationship, with Patricia Barber, continued during the recording of 5 albums. Modern Cool, 1998, received a 5-star review from DownBeat Magazine.
Additional artists recorded on the Premonition label include Von Freeman, Terry Callier, Drew Gress, Bobby Broom and Robert Walker.
In 1999, Premonition signed a ‘joint imprint’ deal with Blue Note Records/EMI. This was the first such agreement in Blue Note history and created the joint imprint, Blue Note/Premonition.
Premonition Records has routinely received superior reviews and has developed a worldwide reputation, among audiophiles, for the outstanding quality of their recordings. Three of Premonition’s releases were named Streophile Magazine’s ‘Recording of the Month’ and five have been a Stereophile “R2D4. Many of Premonition’s releases have been re-released, in multiple formats, by prestigious audiophile labels such as Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, Sieveking Sound and Impex Records.

In 2005, Mike and trumpeter Dave Douglas launched Greenleaf Music, an artist centered jazz label based In New York.
In February of 2013, Michael Friedman won a Grammy® Award as ‘Surround Producer’ for Premonition’s re-release of Patricia Barber’s ‘Modern Cool’ on Blu-ray (Surround and 2 channel dual layer.


Ron Friedman 1968  Trumpet

See Biography: 1968 website yearbook


Ron enjoyed an extensive career as a performer on trumpet. He has toured, as trumpet soloist, with the Woody Herman Band, and with such greats as Joe Lovano, Frank Tiberi, and Al Vizzuti. He was a member of the Jazz/Rock Fusion band New York Mary, and is recorded on the highly acclaimed album Piece of the Apple.  In addition, Ron has shared the stage with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band, Tony Williams LifeTime Band, Dave Liebman, Charles Earland, Bill Withers, and more. Ron toured with Frank Sinatra as Sinatra’s jazz soloist for five years and has had an extensive career, as a Studio Musician, performing more than six thousand recording sessions for radio and television commercials, movies soundtracks, and recording artists. Ron has performed on many Soundstage television concerts including shows with Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and played lead trumpet in the house band at the Mill-Run Theater, in Niles, Illinois. He performed in many Chicago area theaters including the first run opening of The Producers, 42nd Street, Catch Me if You Can, and Hair. His recordings include three albums, with Mike Smith, on the Delmark Label, and also has recorded with Ramsey Lewis, Richie Cole, Styx, Perry Como, Dennis DeYoung, Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, He has performed with Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen MacRae, and many others. He performed with Jaco Pastorius and helped him assemble a band for a tour of Japan.

He received Reader Magazine’s 2012 award for Best Private Event Band in Chicago and has performed in the Humanities Festival Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Chicago many times.

Dave Frohlichstein 1974  Trumpet

See Biography: 1974 website yearbook


Dave has played professional trumpet in the Chicago area, performing with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Bob Hope, Jay Leno, and many others in addition to recording commercials and playing first trumpet at the Shubert Theater; ending his full-time career with the Broadway show Cats; at that time the longest-running musical in Chicago.

In addition, Dave has appeared/performed with, entertainers, comedians, musicals, and other groups including: Dean Martin, 42nd Street, The Temptations, Doc Severinsen, Sammy Davis Jr., Diahann Carroll, Beatlemania, The Rockettes, Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini, George Burns, Julie Andrews, Cabaret, The O’Jays, Tex Benecke, Burt Bacharach, Henny Youngman, Eydie Gorme, Camelot, Bob Crosby, Joel Gray, Don Rickles, Helen Reddy, Chorus Line, Louis Bellson, Johnny Mathis, Pete Barbutti, Stephanie Mills, Dreamgirls, The Goldiggers, Peter Erskine, Richard Harris, Red Buttons, Suzanne Summers, Evita, The Honeybears, Marvin Stamm, Ray Charles, Red Foxx, Rosemary Clooney, Joseph & The Amazing Techicolor,Dreamcoat, Snooky Young, Robert Goulet, Red Skelton, Mitzi Gaynor Man of LaMancha, The Harmonicats, Bobby Shew, Tony Bennett, Shecky Greene, Helen O’Connell, Pirates of Penzance, The Mills, Brothers, Arnie Lawrence, Tom Jones Victor Borge, Barbara Eden, South Pacific, The Four Tops, Bob Florence, Ben Vereen, Rich Little, Lorna Luft, The Wiz, Bobby Rosengarden, Nathan Lane, George Gobel, Lynda Carter,, Bobby Vinton, Frank Gorshin, Maureen McGovern, The Roar of the Greasepaint, Randy Brecker, Engleber, Jim Belushi, Susan Anton, Mary Poppins Cat Anderson.

Craig Garfinkle 1982  Guitar

See Biography: 1980 and 1982 website yearbooks



Craig Stuart Garfinkle is an award winning, and Emmy nominated music producer and composer, who has worked in animation, feature films, trailers, documentaries, television, multimedia projects and advertisement. His orchestral work has been performed by numerous orchestras worldwide including the National Symphony of Ireland, The Bergin Philharmonic, The Qatar Philharmonic, the Stavanger Symphony and many more.

Most recently, Craig co-composed, alongside his wife Eimear Noone, the score for the animated feature, Two By Two: Overboard, a sequel to the successful feature, Two By Two: Ooops! Noah Is Gone. The film, despite being released during the pandemic, was number one at the box office in Ireland, the UK, and Germany. The score received a prestigious Ivor Novello Award nomination for Best Original Film Score.

Eimear and Craig also co-wrote the music for The Legends of the Hidden Temple, which debuted on The CW, October 10th, 2021 and they have two more series currently in production to release in the next few months.

Craig’s past work in animation includes multiple Disney series, most notably as one of the songwriters for The Little Mermaid series and one of the composers for Raw Toonage, which also earned an Emmy nomination for original composition.

Craig has composed extensively for films including the family drama, It is Dark Here (Starring Illiana Douglas, Bubba Lewis, and William Mapother), the black comedy, Get Out if You Can (Directed by TJ Martin), and the supernatural thriller, Blood Relative (Starring Cristin Milioti). His contribution to over 140 film trailers includes J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, the Harry Potter franchise, James Bond, Sin City, Red, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Over the Hedge, Spider-man III, HALO II, The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King and many more. Craig’s music has also appeared in 100’s of film and television projects such as NBC’s The Office, Fringe, Lost, The Sopranos, X Factor, and America’s Got Talent.

As a video game composer, Craig has composed for the iconic video game, World of Warcraft and its expansion, Warlords of Draenor (Hollywood Music in Media Award, Best Video Game Score). His experience in the genre goes back to the first Dungeons and Dragons Games for TSR Inc.

His composition work has led to many MOE awards and accolades including an Emmy nomination for his original score for the KAET PBS special, Visions of Arizona, his composition Waltz to the Underworld received a 2018 Mark Award nomination for Best Trailer Composition, his score for the documentary, What is Going to Happen Next won the award for best documentary score at The Golden State Film Festival and a song that he produced, “I Never Believed in Love, ’til I believed in You”, received the Emmy award for Best Original Song.

Eric Hochberg 1970  Trumpet and Bass

See Biography: 1970 website yearbook



Eric has been a mainstay of the Chicago music scene for more than 40 years, across the realms of jazz, folk, rock, and blues. He has performed and/or recorded with the likes of musical greats Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Barbra Streisand, Cassandra Wilson, Kurt Elling, Dave Leibman, Sam Rivers, Von Freeman, Ken Nordine, Larry Novak, Don Ellis, Paul Wertico, Von Freeman, David Baker, Steve Kuhn, Jon Faddis, Joshua Redman, Johnny Frigo, Bob Mintzer, Donny McCaslin, Howard Levy, Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Chevere de Chicago, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble with Bill Russo, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and many others.

In addition, The Eric Hochberg Trio performed nightly at Catch 35 Chicago, and has also been heard at Chicago venues The Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, The Jazz Showcase, Fitzgerald’s, Pick Staiger Hall, Millennium Park, Evanston Space, and others.

Eric has toured nationally/internationally with the Lyle Mays Quartet, the Terry Callier Group, the Paul Wertico Trio, the Kurt Elling Quartet, Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz, the Howard Levy Quartet, and the Grazyna Auguscik Quintet.

The Eric Hochberg Orchestra performed at the Chicago Welcomes the World Millennium Celebration for 5000 guests from around the world.

Eric taught jazz and theory classes at The Merit School of Music and was the Director of the Merit Jazz Ensemble for seven years. As a Producer, Eric’s credits include The Eric Hochberg Quartet, the Eric Hochberg Trio, World Thing, vocalist Jackie Allen, singer/songwriter Terry Callier, saxophonist Mark Colby, Trio New (Kurt Elling’s original group) and pianist Larry Novak.

Eric’s compositions can be heard on albums by Eric Hochberg, “3” (Williams, Hochberg and Widlowski), “World Thing” by E Hochberg and A Potter, The Paul Wertico Trio, and The Rob Parton Quartet. He also co-wrote the Contrabass Conversations Theme with Jason Heath. Eric has played on more than 1,000 commercial jingle, television, and movie soundtrack recording sessions, one hundred album projects, and has participated in hundreds of Jazz Clinics and school performances.   

Steve Kujala 1973  Saxophone and Flute

See Biography: 1973 website yearbook 

‘Fretless Flute Song’ (comp. by Steve Kujala; arr by Bill Purse (1972); Steve on flute; Bill Purse, piano; Peter Sprague, guitar)  https://youtu.be/_mBMm9ximzE

‘Children’s Songs’ (Chick Corea and Steve Kujala duet tour, 1985; ‘Children’s Songs’, comp. Chick Corea) https://youtu.be/4wnY5ZM71BA

‘The Matador’ (comp/arr/produced by Bill Purse (1972) https://youtu.be/-vZJrmYR-dY

 ‘Passage’ (piano and comp. by Makoto Ozone; produced by Gary Burton )https://youtu.be/taC1v5xfobk

 ‘Siciliano’ (1985? Doc Severinsen, trumpet; Kujala, flute; Arranged &Produced by Jeff Tyzik, based on 2nd movement of Bach Sonata in Eb for Flute and continuo https://youtu.be/myDr-8DVDHk

 ‘Dance of Chance’ (Chick Corea, comp./keys; Kujala, tenor & flute; Al Vizzutti, tpt; Carlos Benavent, Bass; Alex Acuna, drums) https://youtu.be/hwBotGQHAhU

‘Tutti Flutti’ (From ‘Fresh Flute’ 1986, Comp. by Kujala, arranged and produced by Bill Purse (1972)) https://youtu.be/JlQOgJmb-_0

‘Fretless Flute Tutorial’ – Steve Kujala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k6ls-jdGxY

Flutist, composer, and songwriter Steve Kujala has been a stalwart of the Los Angeles music scene since 1976. Kujala received his formal musical training at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Mariano. Not content to merely play classical repertoire and pursue an orchestral career, his interest in jazz, pop and ethnic music took him in another direction altogether: West!

Kujala’s jazz-rock fusion group, Auracle, was signed to Chrysalis Records (counting among their labelmates rock flutist Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull) and released its critically acclaimed debut album, Glider, in 1978. After a short tour, the band members went their separate ways with Kujala joining up with legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea for four records and four world tours. One of those recordings, Voyage (ECM Records), was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Kujala’s flute playing, composition and songwriting talents soon came to the attention of The Beatles’ North American publisher, ATV Music, which led to a record deal with CBS Records. Having created, developed, and pioneered a unique note bending technique on the flute that Kujala calls the “Fretless-Flute” technique, his CBS Records debut album, Fresh Flute, showcased this technique on a song called “Fretless Flute Song.”

Several more solo CDs followed along with growing demand for Kujala’s flute playing that has yielded nearly six hundred movie soundtrack appearances; countless TV show appearances, records and jingles; and live performances and a staff writing position with the Killer Tracks production music library. One of his Killer Tracks songs is “Family and Friends,” which has been used as the signature tune for the Lexus “December to Remember” Annual Holiday Campaign every year since 1999.

Kujala has played on over two dozen hit Broadway shows at the Pantages Theatre, most notably The Lion King, for which he played no less than 14 different ethnic flutes. He was also Principal Piccolo with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for 27 years.

Dan Lakin 1980  Bass

See Biography: 1980 website yearbook


In 1991 Dan started a buy and sell company specializing in bass guitars. This was called, Dan Lakin Basses. At its peak it reached 1000 bassists.

With the interactions, he had, with many bassists, Dan had the opportunity to see (and hear, and feel) almost all relevant basses on the market. Some needed repair so Dan collaborated with a local repairman named Hugh McFarland. Hugh was highly skilled, and his fretwork was legendary.

In 1994, Hugh and Dan put together a bass, from scratch, using features only found in high end basses. The Lakland Bass Company was born. The prototype was designed by Dan providing the neck shape, and opinions on electronics, while Hugh focused on the physical attributes of the bass. The prototype was finished in July of 1994.

Subsequently Lakland became the choice of many top bassists throughout the world. Dan ran Lakland until 2010 when he sold the company.

Greg Marsh 1979  Drums

See Biography: 1979 website yearbook 




Greg Marsh has had a professional career spanning 30 years. He has performed and recorded in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Mexico, Ireland and Maui, Hawaii, where he produced 3 CDs with Lynn Peterson featuring Maui’s finest jazz artists.

Greg has also worked extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands, with Espresso and Dr. Rock, with the entertainment/production agency Musical Options, under the musical direction of Tim O’Hara, as well as many musically diverse performances for Envisions Entertainment and Tihati Productions.

Teaching with esteemed jazz drummer Roscoe Wright, Greg was on staff of AECG (Arts Education for Children Group) for 3 years and worked beside world-renowned percussionist Emil Richards. He conducted clinics and workshops, with the help of drummer extraordinaire Michael Buono.

Greg was a member of the ‘loft’ orchestra for the Maui OnStage production of “Chicago,” under the musical direction of Cody Gilette and Curt Lee.

His composition entitled “Okonomi II” with Taiko drummers Yuta Kato and Preston Jones, which was a collaboration to explore the similarities and differences between Western Drumming and Taiko.

Greg has performed with the Maui Pops Orchestra, under the musical direction of Conductor Stuart Chafetz, toured with The Way Moves, opening for Duran Duran, Culture Club, The Psychedelic Furs, and Gang of Four. He also performed on The Today Show with Jane Pauly.

Greg has recorded on many jingles including McDonald’s, Miller Beer, Busch Beer, Texas Instruments, and assorted others.

Greg co-produced the cut Bulls Are Gonna Mess You Up on the Jim Tullio produced Chicago Bulls tribute CD, “Go Bullistic” with Grant Tye and Klem Hayes, from Dick Holliday and the Bamboo Gang. He also recorded, and performed with Lisa Loeb, for Jeremy Pivens’ ABC television show, Cupid.

Greg contributed to Showcase Music Magazine with his “Percussion Discussion” column featuring interviews with top professional drumming artists, as well as exploring concepts and methods for modern drumming.

Greg has written columns for Singer & Musician Magazine, a part of the I Live to Play Network.   

Doug McClure 1973  Drums


Doug became the band director and subsequently the drama instructor, and artistic and tech director, at Neoga High School in Illinois. Upon his retirement, he was appreciated, in comments made, as a legendary teacher to be remembered. His students created a video about Doug, that can be seen on the link above.

Richard Oppenheim 1971  Saxophone

See Biography: 1971 website yearbook



Following his studies at Indiana University, he gained experience playing with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Charles Mingus, and Lonnie Brooks. On relocating to New York in 1976 he recorded with Ray Anderson, Chuck Loeb, Bern Nix, Bill Goodwin and many more. From the late ’70s through ’80s he performed with Lionel Hampton, Clifford Jordan, Otis Rush, Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Buddy Rich, Bernard Purdie, Jaki Byard, David Johanssen and Illinois Jacquet. With Greenhorn in a Red State, Oppenheim takes another important and uniquely personal step in his musical journey.

Richard Oppenheim has performed with the bands of Illinois Jacquet and Buddy Rich, and headed up the sax section in Marvin Gaye’s large touring unit. After putting in a year and a half with the Paul Jeffrey Octet, he segued into the octet of valve trombonist Marshall Brown, and played baritone sax with Jaki Byard and the Apollo Stompers. Two smaller ensembles, Fat Doggie and Zambomba, led respectively by Gregory Alper and Mark Holen, allowed him to stretch in the intrepid company of Bern Nix, Shelley Hirsch, Ray Anderson, and Chuck Loeb, among others.

Oppenheim also fronted bebop trios featuring Cameron Brown, Eliot Zigmund, and Bill Goodwin, and shared the bandstand with Charles Mingus, Clifford Jordan, Lionel Hampton, Dave Liebman, and Dennis Charles.

Other appearance includes performing with Lonnie Brooks, Otis Rush, and Mike Bloomfield, all of whom established their reputations in Oppenheim’s native Chicago environs. In the realm of rock, he has worked and recorded with Foghat, Mick Ronson and Ian Hunter, and The Rattlers. He has played alongside Neil Young, Johnny Winter, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, and David Johanssen.

Oppenheim, along with his wife, musician, and educator Katchie Cartwright, has become a first-call alto saxophonist. He works with almost every jazz aggregation in town, including the King William Jazz Collective, Small World, Katchie & Le Monde Caché (with Cartwright) and the Primetime Jazz Orchestra.

Oppenheim is currently President of the AFM Local 23

Dr. Elizabeth (Bowman) Peterson 1981 Trumpet

See Biography: 1981 website yearbook


Beth is a clinical professor of music, and associate director of bands at the University of Illinois. She conducts the Illinois Wind Orchestra and is the placement coordinator for student teachers. In addition, she teaches courses in instrumental conducting. Before joining the University of Illinois she was a professor of music education at Ithaca College of Music. At Ithaca she conducted the Symphonic Band, Brass Choir, and the All-Campus Band. She also conducted the Ithaca Community Concert Band. Beth also was Director of Bands in the public schools of Ohio and Illinois. Beth is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and school music consultant in the United States and Canada. She presents clinics at the local, state, and national levels in the field of music education. Peterson’s two books, “The Music Teachers First Year: Tales of Challenge Joy and Triumph,” and “The Music Teacher’s Later Years: Reflection with Wisdom” are both published by Meredith Music.

Bill Pollack 1973  Piano

See Biography: 1973 website yearbook

Bill Pollack Website

Bill Pollack has been a bandleader in Chicago for the last 30 years. He has led jazz trios and 20-piece bands, always with a fun and contemporary flair. He has performed for Kings and Presidents. Brides and Grooms, corporate events and for Gala’s. Never one to be content with the same thing year after year, Bill revved up his wildly creative side and created his world music group, tribe, as well as the new techno/hip-hop sensation, clubLOUNGE and violin trio Hot-Pink (led by Brad Boehm’s (NTWjazz – 1972) incredibly talented daughter, Heather). Whether acting as a corporate vocal facilitator or composing music for Hip-Hop/Stomp-like dancers, Bill is constantly finding new ways to both reach and engage people.

Bill Purse 1972  Trumpet and Piano

See Biography:  1972 website yearbook




Bill has performed at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, playing for acts such as Ann-Margret, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, Seals & Crofts, Johnny Carson, Wayne Newton, Donna Summer, and a host of others. To his credits, Bill became the pianist for Dionne Warwick, and later Isaac Hayes, and became the arranger for his albums. In addition, he arranged horns and strings for about 6 or 7 albums produced by Hayes. Bill’s talents were furthered exemplified during a tour with the Bee Gees. After moving to Los Angeles Bill became the arranger and pianist/trumpeter for Star Search and did that for nine years running. Bill began recording all the synthesizer overdubs, eventually also mixing the tracks. He has scored commercials for a large variety of companies.

Don Robin 1975  Piano

See Biography:  1975 website yearbook

Don currently teaches piano in the San Diego area with California Music Studios, Golden West Music Studios, and performs, in Southern California, with guitarist James Abbuhl.

He has performed with the Santa Barbara City College Jazz Band featuring bassist Randy Tico who went on to tour with Airto.

At 24, he moved to New York City and studied with Carl Mosbacher, a professor at New York University and the Mannes School of Music. In 1987, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began studying piano with Julian White and also studied jazz piano with Mark Levine. He performed in various groups in the Bay Area and worked with bassist Ezra Gale and also drummer Jack Castillo (the original drummer of Tower of Power). He then attended San Francisco State University and studied piano with William Corbett Jones. He graduated with a music degree from California State University Hayward.

Richard Ruttenberg 1971  Piano

See Biography: 1971 website yearbook        

Rich Ruttenberg has studied piano since the age of seven, starting with classical repertoire and moving to jazz studies in high school and college. After several years playing jazz clubs in Chicago, he moved out to Los Angeles, shortly thereafter beginning a 30-year career playing piano and electronic keyboards. He has performed with artists as diverse as Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Marvin Hamlisch, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Jeff Beck, Seth MacFarlane, and Catherine Zeta-Jones; played thousands of recording sessions for shows such as The Simpsons, the Star Trek series, The Family Guy, American Dad, JAG, Wings, Moonlighting, Murphy Brown, and Murder She Wrote; and performs live regularly on the Oscars and the Emmy awards.

In the world of film music, he has had the pleasure of working with such composers as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Mark Isham, Elmer Bernstein, Mychael Danna, James Horner, David Newman, Danny Elfman, Randy Newman, James Newton Howard, and Marc Shaiman on hundreds of movies as varied as A Beautiful Mind, Anchorman, Toy Story 2, The Royal Tenenbaums, City Slickers, Minority Report, Antwone Fisher, Breach, Bobby, Eight Below, Catch Me If You Can, Seabiscuit, What Women Want, Darkman, A River Runs Through It, The Pursuit of Happyness, Lars And The Real Girl, and most significantly, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

David Schumacher 1978  Saxophone      

See Biography: 1978 website yearbook

Dave Schumacher has been active on the New York scene for more than the 38 years. He has performed for audiences in more than 465 cities in 41 countries on 5 continents.

As member of Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra from 1983 to 1987 he toured the Americas and Europe.


He again toured with Hamp in 1988 and 1989. A highlight in Dave’s career was traveling with the Art Blakey Big Band to Japan in 1987 to perform at the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival. Dave was an original member of Harry Connick, Jr.’s Orchestra from its beginnings in 1990 until 2009. He has thrilled audiences touring with Harry in North America, Europe, Asia (Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and South Korea) and Australia. His baritone sax can be heard on each of these Harry Connick, Jr., Columbia recordings: Oh My NOLA, Chanson du Vieux Carré, Only You, When My Heart Finds Christmas, Come By Me, Blue Light Red Light, Songs I Heard, Thou Shalt Not, What A Night and others. As a freelance artist Dave was a touring member of the T.S. Monk on Monk Ensemble from 1999 to 2000 touring the U.S. and Europe, as well as touring Europe with the Tom Harrell Octet in 2000. Dave has also done freelance work with Howard Johnson’s Beartones, Nicholas Payton’s Louis Armstrong Tribute Big Band, Joe Lovano’s 52nd Street Themes Nonet, the groups of Jack McDuff, Eddie Gladden, Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Joey DeFrancesco, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Big Band, Tom Harrell Big Band, Lin Halliday, and many others. As a leader and composer/arranger, Dave has recorded 3 CD’s – Every Corner and from Another Life on the Amosaya Music label and Endangered Species on Summit Records. Dave has recorded as a sideman with Lionel Hampton, Harry Connick, Jr., Tom Harrell, Scott Whitfield, Jason Lindner, Mel Torme, Ben Wolfe and salsero Billy Carrion, among others. As an educator Dave is currently the Director of Jazz Workshops for the New Jersey Youth Symphony. He also maintains an active studio of private students of saxophone, clarinet, flute, and improvisation at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts in New Jersey. Dave has been teaching private students for close to forty years.

Susan Kasanov (Silverstone) 1970

Guitar and Bass

See Biography: 1968 website yearbook

Susan directed the Orchestra for the Des Plaines, Illinois school system and subsequently the Orchestra director for Deerfield, Illinois, School District 109. She taught orchestra for 29 years. She also performed with the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra and was an original member of the Internationally Acclaimed Highland Park Strings.

Mitch Stein 1982  Piano

Groove Division

See Biography: 1982 website yearbook

Mitch Stein is one of the West Coast’s most in-demand keyboardists. He has performed and/or recorded with such jazz, blues, rock and funk greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Paul McCandless, Frank Morgan, Jaco Pastorius, Bob Weir, David Grisman, Narada Michael Walden, Norton Buffalo, George Porter Jr., Mike Clark, Charles Neville, Jim Keltner, Derek Trucks, Joaquin Lievano, Peter Cetera, Gary Burton, Phil Lesh, Leland Sklar, Scott Page, Betty Carter, Johnny Nitro, Freddie Hubbard, Karl Denson, Joan Osborne, Jon Anderson, Steve Kujala, Bernard Purdie, Larry Braggs, Wendell Brunious, Luther Tucker, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, The Headhunters, Dave Malone, Camile Baudoin, Reggie Scanlan, Max Weinberg, The Greyboy Allstars, John Entwistle, John Lee Hooker, Little Jimmy Scott, Buddy Rich, Les Claypool, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Tootie Heath, Melvin Seals, Zero, John Heard, Mickey Hart, Fred Staehle, Rob Wasserman, Donna Jean Godcheaux, Peter Albin, Peter Rowan, Dark Star Orchestra, Bill Kreutzmann, Papa Mali, Harvey Mandel, Al Foster, Jerry Jumonville, Von and Chico Freeman, Steve Rodby, Papa John Creach, Eric Krasno, John Molo, John Popper, Leo Nocentelli, The Brecker Brothers, Will Lee and many others.

Mitch appears with:  Mitch Stein & His All-Star Band and Stein/Saunders/Vitt (featuring bassist Tony Saunders and drummer Bill Vitt).

In early 2012, Mitch joined together Dave Malone, Camile Baudoin and Reggie Scanlan from The New Orleans Radiators plus drummer Eric Bolivar (Anders Osborne, Pimps Of Joytime), to form GATORATORS, who perform together throughout the year.

Mitch composed, produced, and performed the scores for several best-selling SuperNintendo video games including Taz-Mania and Clay Fighter, and was the exclusive composer of DeadRingers, officially licensed classic Grateful Dead ringtones for cell phones.

Mitch is also a veteran feature film producer (he goes by “Mitchell” in the film world) and has produced or been on the production team for projects for LucasArts, Commercial Pictures, Walt Disney Productions, New World Pictures, American Playhouse, (c)olossal Pictures, Nintendo, InterPlay, Electronic Arts, SunSoft, U.S. Gold, and others.

Mitch produced two Sundance Film Festival Official Selections (Dream With the Fishes starring David Arquette and Cathy Moriarty, and Christmas in the Clouds starring Graham Greene and M. Emmet Walsh) that both received worldwide theatrical and home video distribution. Oprah Winfrey called Christmas in the Clouds her “must-see” holiday film. Mitch also coproduced The Earth Will Swallow You, a feature-length documentary/performance film about — and starring — the popular rock band Widespread Panic.

His current active productions include DEADSHOWZ, a Grateful Dead reference app for iOS and Android, a 3-D feature film/videogame project based upon a novel to which he acquired the rights, a feature length documentary about James Brown’s band, and a music-based reality television series.

Scott Steinman 1973  Guitar

See Biography: 1973 website yearbook

Scott Steinman is a Recording Engineer and Producer, who been a part of the Chicago area recording scene since 1980, and has recorded, (Studiomedia), and produced music in many musical styles and genres.

He has an extensive list of recent recordings that include: Gustavo Cortinas / Desafio Candente, Chicago Yestet / Not There Yet, Kitt Lyle’s Real Talk Collective / Wake Before Dawn, Gregory Dudzienski / Beautiful Moments, Andy Brown / Alone Time, Garrett Asher / Possibility, Rose Colella / We’ve Got Love, Threadbare / Silver Dollar, Chris Madsen / Bonfire, Frank Lamphire / America Swings,  Clark Gibson / Tri-Colored Eyes, Erik Skov / Liminality, The Sam Pilnik Project / Pure Imagination, Alan Zreczny / Aftershocks, Rob Ryndak and Tom Lockwood / Gratitude.  More of Scott’s engineering can be heard on Typical Sisters / Hungry Ghost, Roy McGrath / Remembranzas, Petra Van Nuis and Andy Brown / Lyrical Lessons, Adam Larson / Second City, Season of Carols Volume 5 / Various artists, David Edelfelt / Better, Gustavo Cortinas Snapshot / Esse, Carlos Vega / Bird’s Up, American Blues Theater / Happy Holidays Volume 2,  Andy Brown Quartet / Direct Call, Greg Fishman / New Journey, Bobby Lewis/ Play On,  John Wojciechowski / Focus, Rose Colella / Cocktail, and Kitt Lyles / Real Talk. Previous works include  Paul Marinaro / Without A Song,  Howard Alden & Andy Brown Quartet / Heavy Artillery, Geof Bradfield / Melba, Clark Sommers / Ba(sh), Geof Bradfield / African Flowers, Roy McGrath / Martha, Elaine Dame / You’re My Thrill, Bob Mamet / London House Blues, Bobby Lewis /  Mellifluous Tones, Linda Tate / Geography , Jeff Hedberg and C11 / Nice Work If You Can Get It,  Gustavo Cortinas / Snapshot, David Edelfelt / And Love Is Born at Christmas. Other credits include recordings with Judy Roberts, Jim Ryan Trio, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Tom Michael & Beckie Menzie, Chip Stephens Trio, the Eddie Gomez Trio, Dana Hall, University of Illinois at Chicago Jazz Ensemble, June Shellene, Chris Madsen, KT McCammond, Greg Fishman Jazz Studios, Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown, Paulinho Garcia, The Kelly Brand Nextet, Lisa Lauren, Steve Sandner, Jeannie Lambert, Mark O’ Connor, Chip McNeill, Russ Phillips and Friends, Paul Kogut, Two for Brazil, Mark Colby, Wayne Messmer, Peter Oprisko, the Fatum Brothers’ Jazz Orchestra, and Jim McNeely, Kelly Sill, and Joel Spencer.

William Susman 1978  Piano, Composer

See Biography: 1978 website yearbook



American composer William Susman has created a distinctively expressive voice in contemporary classical music, with a catalog that includes orchestral, chamber, and vocal music, as well as numerous film scores. In addition to his work as a composer, he spearheads the contemporary ensemble OCTET and Belarca Records. AllMusic calls him an exemplar of “the next developments in the sphere . . . [of] minimalism,” and textura describes him as “not averse to letting his affection for Afro-Cuban, jazz, and other forms seep into his creative output.” His music has earned praise from The New York Times for being “vivid, turbulent, and rich-textured,” from Gramophone as “texturally shimmering and harmonically ravishing,” and from Fanfare for being “crystalline . . . and gloriously lyrical.”

Susman’s training as both a jazz and classical pianist was influential in his evolution as a composer. His academic training in composition grounded him in the traditions of mid-century modernism, and he was particularly fascinated by the sounds and techniques of Xenakis and Ligeti. He became increasingly dissatisfied with the expressive and formal limitations of post-war modernism, though, and began to incorporate more diverse elements and influences – free jazz, Afro-Cuban techniques, as well as other non-Western traditions – in what has become his recognizably American and individual voice. His music uses an eclectic array of devices, from medieval isorhythm and hocket to Afro-Cuban clave and montuño rhythmic patterns. With this toolkit, he crafts a bold sound world both familiar and complex, with highly energetic grooves and hypnotic modal-based harmonies.

Susman’s music is uniquely suited to film, and he is widely recognized for scoring such award-winning works as Native New Yorker (Best Documentary Film, Tribeca Film Festival), which has been included in over 30 film festivals worldwide and was honored in 2015 as one of the best in American experimental film by the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His film catalog includes scores for more than a dozen documentaries, including Oil on Ice, awarded the Pare Lorentz award by the International Documentary Association.

First appearing on the international scene after receiving a BMI award in 1985, Susman was selected by Earle Brown to receive a commission from the Fromm Foundation. The resulting work, Trailing Vortices (1986), premiered at the Aspen Music Festival and went on to win an ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Award. It has received numerous international performances, including with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, where it was featured at the Gaudeamus Festival. His orchestral and chamber music has been widely performed in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan.

rev. 01/10/2022

Ross Traut 1972  Guitar

See Biography: 1972 website yearbook 

Guitarist Ross Traut has had a thirty plus career in music. He has appeared on records for artists including James Taylor, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Rich, Eliane Elias, Paul McCandless, Dave Samuels, Eric Hochberg (1970 New Trier West Jazz alum) and Fred Simon.

In addition, he has appeared on stage with artists including Joe Henderson, Paul Bley, Jaco Pastorius, Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, Paul McCandless, Dave Samuels, and Michael Franks.

David Tropp 1978  Baritone Saxophone

See Biography: 1978 website yearbook

David is active playing tenor and soprano sax with local Chicago blues and rock bands, playing at Lilly’s, Reggie’s, Uncommon Ground, Viper Alley, and other local small music venues, otherwise known as dives. In addition, he has recorded several sax tracks for TKO Duo on their debut CD in 2019

Rick Vines 1975  Drums and Song Writer

See Biography: 1975 website yearbook


Jazz Drummer/Song Writer:  Rick Vines has a broad music sensibility that draws from Folk, Jazz, Rock, and the New Orleans sound. He incorporates all these elements into an honest and straightforward expression of extraordinary songwriting that is not over crafted. He has a warm and almost conversational delivery that can be both intimate and stark, sometimes in the same song.

Decades as a Jazz Drummer, a stint studying composition at Berklee, and playing drums in an alternative band in the 90’s are unlikely preparation for life-long musician Rick Vines in his latest incarnation as a singer/songwriter. But it seems to be working.

Rick writes songs that are insightful and haunting with a laid back and soulful feel. Rick has a broad music sensibility that draws from Folk, Jazz, Rock, and the New Orleans sound. He incorporates all these elements into an honest and straightforward expression of extraordinary songwriting that is not over crafted. He has a warm and almost conversational delivery that can be both intimate and stark, sometimes in the same song.

Rick recorded an album that was co-produced by Anne Heaton and features Chris Siebold, Gerald Dowd, and Tad Santos. He also had a CD release show at S.P.A.C.E.