College of Music in Boston has educated many artists on the forefront
of the music industry. So it's appropriate that the college is bringing
one of its most enterprising student groups to the TD Toronto Jazz
Festival. At the Stage Club Jazz CBC/Radio-Canada, Puerto Rican
saxophonist Mario Castro leads four of Berklee's best musicians, from
spots as far-flung as South Korea, Israel and California.
From Humacao, Puerto Rico, Mario Castro began his musical studies at
the age of 12, and later became interested primarily in jazz. He has
performed in the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz
Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Jazz Festival and Nancy Jazz Festival both
as a sideman and leader. Mario has performed with the Puerto Rico
Philharmonic Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Greg Osby, Giovanni Hidalgo,
Humberto Ramirez, Mike Clark, Horacio “El Negro" Hernandez, Gene Perla
and many more. The Mario Castro Quintet met in 2008 at Berklee College
of Music where Mario finished his studies in 2011. The groups debut cd,
Primavera, was released in April 2012 by Greg Osby's label Inner Circle
Music. The quintet consists of David Neves, Jonathan Pinson, Tamir
Shmerling, and KyuMin Shim.
Born in 1989, trumpeter David Neves is the winner of the 2010
International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition. He completed his studies
at Berklee College of Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in
2011, where he's had the pleasure of studying with some of his favorite
musicians including Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Ben Street, John
Patitucci, Tiger Okoshi, and Hal Crook, to name a few.
Jonathan Pinson's dynamic and explosive percussion sound has been
described as that of a “young Elvin Jones." His formal music training
began at the age of six with instruction on the piano. He transitioned
to the drum set in 1999 with instruction by Jerry Kalaf, at Los Angeles'
Colburn School of Performing Arts, up until 2007. He's been fortunate
to have the opportunity to study with the late, great Billy Higgins, at
the World Stage in Los Angeles, California. Jonathan came to Berklee on
the full-tuition Jimmy Lyons Scholarship. Jonathan graduated from
Berklee in 2011, and was recently accepted into Thelonius Monk Institute
of Jazz Performance.
A double and electric bassist from Israel, Tamir Shmerling completed
his mandatory national service as a bassist for the Israeli Defense
Forces Orchestra from 2005 to 2008, performing with the orchestra
around Israel, Europe and the US. He held the bass chair in both the Tel
Aviv and Holon big bands, directed by Amikam Kimelman and Guri Agmon
respectively, and in the “Israeli Idol" TV show band. Tamir studied at
the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music on a scholarship, and
was a student of Eli Magen from 2008-2009. Since graduating Berklee in
2011, Tamir has toured with Terri Lyne Carrington.
KyuMin Shim was born in Seoul, Korea in 1984 and began to play the
piano at age five. He began with a focus on classical music, but soon
after he started playing the jazz piano and won the performance prize in
Jazz Music Competition held by Seoul Institute of The Arts (SITA), one
of the best music schools in Korea. A year later, SITA presented him
with a full scholarship. Since 2009, he's been studying at Berklee on
scholarship, where he works with Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Pérez, Ed
Tomassi, to name a few.
Berklee College of Music, for over 65 years, has evolved to support
its belief that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is
through contemporary music education. The college was the first in the
U.S. to teach jazz, the popular music of the time. It incorporated rock
n’ roll in the 1960s, created the world's first degree programs in film
scoring, music synthesis, and songwriting, and, in recent years, added
world music, hip-hop, electronica, and video game music to its
curriculum. With a diverse student body representing over 80 countries, a
music industry "who’s who" of alumni that have received 200 Grammy
Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of
today – and tomorrow.