(L-R): Cornerstone/Fader's Jon Cohen, Martin Bandier, L.A. Reid, and Doug Morris. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
( Disclosure: The author of this article, Billboard.biz editor Jem Aswad, graduated from Syracuse University and has appeared as a lecturer at the Bandier Program.)
One advantage of Syracuse University's music/entertainment-business Bandier Program is that its patron, Sony/ATV Chairman/CEO and SU alum Martin Bandier, can easily reserve a room on the opulent 35th floor of the Sony Building in New York. And it was there last week that the program's newly minted alums honored Cornerstone's Jon Cohen, who frequently lectures at the program, for his wide-ranging contributions
(L-R): Karen and Jon Cohen, Syracuse University Bandier Program director David Rezak, Reid, and Morris. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
Gathered in the room was a collection of people - many of them SU alums -- you probably wouldn't see anywhere else: Heavyweights like Bandier, L.A. Reid, Doug Morris, Glassnote founder Daniel Glass, Mick Management's Michael McDonald, Gregg Allman manager Michael Lehman, Sony Music's Jacqueline Saturn, brothers Steve Leeds (of Sirius) and Harvey Leeds (of Headquarters), Sony/ATV's Jimmy Asci and Big Hassle co-founder Ken Weinstein along with Bandier Program director David Rezak and invaluable staffers Ulf Oesterle and Lisa Steele, as well as recent graduates of the program like Brittany Lahm (who currently works at WWE Music Group), Trevor Elwell (currently at search-engine-specializing startup BrandYourself) and all of this year's graduates, including Gabriella Landman (a former Billboard intern) and music-business attorney Elliott Groffman's son Jonathan, the latter of whom already has a gig lined up at Mick Management.
Martin Bandier giving his speech. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
And both Bandier and three of the above-mentioned grads gave brief speeches extolling Cohen's work for the program, with the grads talking about his generosity and advice, and Bandier (who not only hired a young Cohen at the old SBK Records and Publishing, his Syracuse roommate Richard Goldberg is Cohen's father-in-law) talking not only about his business prowess but also his "cool."
"We were golfing this March and he hit a hole in one," Bandier recalled. "If I hit a hole in one you'd have heard me yelling all over the course. Jon just picked up the ball and put it in his pocket."
Morris, Bandier, and Reid pose for a photo. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
"I am so not cool!" Cohen said when he took the podium, before giving props and thanks to Bandier ("He still works with the same energy as when I met him 20 years ago"), fellow SBK vets, Rezak and of course the many members of his family who were in attendance. "The real reason I do this is because I want to see the students get the shot that I got," he said. "To see the impact that this program has made is beyond incredible. There are superstars in the making here."
Rezak, Cohen, and Reid. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
Indeed, the program is quite selective with its candidates - limiting its enrollment to around 25 per year - and works to help them to obtain a variety of internships as well as jobs in the industry after graduation. Lahm, for example, interned at Sony Music's publicity department in L.A., Goodman Media in New York, and EMI Music Publishing in London.
Ann Clarke (left), dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, home of the Bandier program, and Ruth Kaplan, vice president of External Affairs, New York, pose with Jon Cohen. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
As the beverages flowed and the evening went on, chatter in the room revolved around Bandier and Sony/ATV's recently approved acquisition of EMI Music Publishing - the company Bandier ran for many years - and lots of reminiscing about Syracuse, its sports programs, the generations of concerts the alums attended there and, not least, its brutal winters.
Bandier '11 grads pose with Bandier Administrator Lisa Steele (right). (Photo: Ben Gabbe)
Billboard.biz editor Jem Aswad with Big Hassle Media's Ken Weinstein. (Photo: Ben Gabbe)