Accomplished music industry professionals to speak at Writers@Work residency

Roger Coda
Anthony Casuccio (left) and Jeff James

Anthony Casuccio (left) and Jeff James

SUNY Fredonia alumni who have achieved impressive career success in the music recording industry – collaborating with numerous legendary artists – will share their work experiences and offer career advice to students at numerous events in the “Making a Life in Music” Writers@Work series.

The pair, both 1991 graduates, will bring impressive credentials to master classes and classroom presentations they’ll give together throughout the residency on Thursday and Friday, April 11 and 12.

Jeff James, who is A&R Director of Legacy Recordings – the highly regarded catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, has played a pivotal role in curating retrospective and archival projects that celebrate the timeless music of iconic artists.

We have two very influential people in the music industry to give our students advice and make great connections for possible jobs in the future.” – Sage Brandt

Anthony Casuccio, a music industry veteran, author and educator, joined Sony Music’s Redband Broadcasting in San Francisco, CA, to build and run their audio production department, an endeavor that led to constructing three studios and assembling a team of audio experts.

"This is a huge opportunity for students, and the community,” commented Sage Brandt, a senior Music Industry and Business Administration: Management major from Newark, NY.

“We have two very influential people in the music industry to give our students advice and make great connections for possible jobs in the future,” added Ms. Brandt, an event coordinator with Writers@Work. “All events are open to the public, so anyone can come and ask questions! It will be an exciting event series for everyone in the local area.”

Launching the two-day residency will be an A&R (Artists & Repertoire) presentation in Thompson Hall Room W101 on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Scheduled later that afternoon in the same location is a music industry resume writing and development session from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The School of Business will present an evening music industry master class, also on Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m., in Thompson Hall Room W101.

A second master class, “Making a Life in Music,” will be given in Rosch Recital Hall on Friday, from 9 to 11 a.m. Two afternoon sessions are scheduled: “Writing Professions in Music & More,” in Fenton Hall  Room 2164, from 1 to 1:50 p.m.; and “Careers in Music – Employer Panel,” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Thompson Hall Room W101.

In a career spanning over 25 years at Sony, James, who has a B.S. in Communication: Media Studies from SUNY Fredonia, has collaborated with widely recognized artists such as Whitney Houston; Luther Vandross; Earth, Wind and Fire; Britney Spears; Alicia Keys; Cyndi Lauper; Usher; Backstreet Boys and Jennifer Lopez, among others. He was also instrumental in the success of “Higher Love,” a chart-topping hit by Kygo & Whitney Houston.

Organizers of this Writers@Work residency say James embodies a spirit of dedication and passion for music and is a shining example of what can be achieved with a strong foundation in communication media.

Exceptional skills in broadcast, print media and media communications enabled James to embark on a flourishing career in the music industry. Starting in the mailroom of the legendary hip-hop label Profile Records, James rose to join the A&R team at Sony.

In a short span of nine years in New York City, NY, Casuccio, who has a B.S. in Sound Recording Technology from SUNY Fredonia, worked with major record labels producing, mixing and remastering over 450 albums – many that received RIAA gold record status – by iconic artists that include Tony Bennett, Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, Glenn Miller, Les Paul and Johnny Cash.

Casuccio has engineered/produced live music mixes for Redband Broadcasting’s Music Backstage show that featured major label artists such as Lifehouse, Kasey Chambers, Eliades Ochoa (Buena Vista Social Club) and Victoria Williams and Mark Olsen (Jayhawks) and Chuck D. He’s also done location recording for lifestyle programming with guests that include renowned author Joyce Carol Oats, humorist/comedian David Sedaris, Chinese-American actress/film director Joan Chen and American guitarist/composer Joe Satriani.

As an educator, Casuccio developed and taught the music business curriculum for the non-profit Bayview Education Center in San Francisco, CA, to inspire and educate underserved youth and adults to become more productive and improve the quality of life for themselves and their community by providing education in the arts, culture and enterprise.

Seeing such successful industry professionals who graduated from SUNY Fredonia shows current students how far they can really go in the industry, said Dylan Gurnari, a member of the social media/Meta suite team at HAIL! Fredonia Records.

Being able to learn from such influential professionals who took the same path SUNY Fredonia students did is an invaluable experience. Sony Music is one of the biggest and most successful companies to date; seeing that level of success from Fredonia alumni and the accolades they've acquired further inspires current students to not only follow in their footsteps but to carve their own, added Mr. Gurnari, a senior Music Industry major from Buffalo, NY.

“It'll be super cool to meet with Casuccio and James to talk about their careers in the industry. Especially having someone from such a big music company, I'm excited to learn more about the industry from them,” said Sydney Feinsilver, head of the TikTok team at HAIL! Fredonia Records and a senior Music Industry major from Centereach, NY.

Sponsors of the Writers@Work residency include the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities of the Fredonia College Foundation, Faculty Student Association, Fredonia Alumni Association and School of Music.

Series partners are the Office of Alumni Affairs, School of Business, Career Development Office, Department of English, Center for Innovation and Economic Development, Honors Program and Undergraduate Admissions.

Residency partners are the Center for Innovation and Economic Development, Department of English, HAIL! Fredonia Records, the Music Industry program, School of Business and School of Music.

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