Issue 9 | October 2005

  • Message from Membership Director
  • Message from the President – “Mia’s Monthly Message”
  • Member Profile of Robert Kraft ‘76
  • Industry Successes…
  • So You Got The Job, Hey…
  • And the Award Goes to….
  • Six Degrees of Harvardwood
  • Featured Member Posting – Harvardwood Holiday Party

A Message from the Membership Director

Can anyone say Part-aye! The First annual Harvardwood Holiday Party is just around the corner, and I can’t wait to boogie with you all in November. We have been busy this past month actively spreading the word about Harvardwood including several career fairs on various campuses in Cambridge. Membership numbers are on the up too, so please continue to tell your Harvard friends about us! To all our affiliate members, I hope you are enjoying the free month of membership as part of our affiliate appreciation month. Please take advantage of all the services available, and by the end of the month hopefully you’ll be asking yourself, how ever did I live without my Harvardwood membership (smile)? We can’t wait to welcome you into the family. Take care!


Mia’s Monthly Message….

Our inaugural four-week Harvardwood Seminar Series concluded Oct. 1st with the Independent Film panel – thank you to all of our participants and guest speakers: Joe Acevedo (Univision), David Alpert (Circle of Confusion), Julio Caro (producer, THE CELL), Howard Cohen (Roadside Attractions), Alex Franklin (The Weinstein Co.), Billy Hawkins (CAA), John Meigs (Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman), Gordon Paddison (New Line), Keir Pearson (screenwriter, HOTEL RWANDA), David Polo (Univision), Michael Rizzo (ICM), Adrian Sexton (Lions Gate), and Antonio Sosa (Warner Bros. Home Video). Special thanks to Tim Ralston and Lions Gate for hosting us and to Harvardwood Programs Director Kevin Boyle for creating the seminar series.

And more thanks to our recent Harvardwood Writers Program speakers: LAW & ORDER: SVU Exec Producer Neal Baer (GSE ’79, AM ’82, MD ’96), LOST Exec Producer Carlton Cuse ‘81, and screenwriters Keir Pearson ’89 (HOTEL RWANDA) and Massy Tadjedin ’99 (THE JACKET).

Hope to see you at the Holiday Party on Nov. 3rd!


Member Profile: ROBERT KRAFT ‘76


An Interview with Robert Kraft

Reported by Sean O’Rourke ‘68

Our Harvardwood Highlights Profile reporter, Sean O’Rourke had the opportunity to interview Robert Kraft, President of Fox Music and Class of 1976 at Harvard College. Robert has been an avid supporter of Harvardwood and currently serves on the Harvardwood Advisory Board. Sean caught up with Robert on the Fox lot in West Los Angeles, where they shared the following lively exchange.

Harvardwood Highlights (HH): How did you come to work in the music industry?

Robert: “I have always loved music. From the time when as a toddler I would climb up onto the piano bench and pretend to be ‘performing’ right through this morning when I was working with a composer and a ninety piece orchestra on the score for a new Fox film called ‘The Family Stone.’ Music has always been special to me.

HH: Did you have an incident, a teacher, a song, or something else from your time at Harvard that illustrates your love of music?

Robert: “I had three important musical experiences at Harvard. The first occurred when the chairman of the Music Department told me that I was ‘unprepared’ to concentrate in music. He was correct. I wanted to explore the work of George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk and Steely Dan, and he wanted me to sight read the compositions of some dead white Europeans. Fortunately I found a wonderful home in the Visual Studies Department where I was introduced to music for film and wrote my junior thesis on Leonard Bernstein’s score for ‘On the Waterfront.’

My second [experience] came from meeting Myra Mayman of the Harvard Office for the Arts. She had a small fund to underwrite music lessons for students, and she introduced me to an experimental composer in Cambridge named David Patterson who had a huge influence on me. He was out of his mind in the best possible way and showed me that music comes from many sources. After two years of studying with him I wanted to be the next John Cage.

My last musical breakthrough at Harvard came in my junior year. As I was leaving Lamont Library with a group of seniors, someone said, ‘I am so stressed about what to do after college.’ Crossing Quincy Street, I realized, ‘I am not stressed about that at all. I am a song writer, and after college I’m going to write songs.’

HH: Do you have any anecdotes or funny stories to share from your time working in music?

Robert: “I have a million anecdotes, but the first one that comes to mind is something that happened while I was writing and producing the score for “The Mambo Kings.” I was in the studio with Tito Puente’s Orchestra, which included some of the finest Latin jazz musicians in the world. Sitting in the control room with me was Mario Bauza, then eighty-six years old and the ‘godfather’ of Cuban mambo in New York City. He had written many of the classics of that era, and at this session he was increasingly distressed with the way the band was playing one of his songs.

Finally he got up, walked into the studio on his cane and asked one of the alto sax players for his horn. Then he signaled for me to start recording. With his body and saxophone he showed the musicians how he wanted the song to go, and did it ever swing!

From that incident I learned that music knows no age, that artists have a spirit that burns throughout their lives and that we should never discriminate because people seem ‘past their prime.’ I also had a delightful afternoon recording take after take of ‘Tanga,’ Mario’s classic mambo featuring the Mambo King himself on alto.

HH: What influenced your transition into the business side of music instead of just focusing purely on the creative?

Robert: As a musician and composer I found it hard constantly to be in a position where someone else decided my fate whether it was the record company, the booking agent or the film producer. I wanted more control over my life and my music plus I was always anxious about getting my next gig regardless of how successful my last production had been. By the time my first son was born, I was in my thirties and thinking seriously about taking a full time job in music, preferably one that allowed me to be creative.

The offer from 20th Century Fox was a dream come true and a complete surprise. I would select and supervise the music for dozens of films and television shows, effectively serving as the ‘ears’ of a hugely productive media company. Initially the job terrified me, but after eleven years, two hundred fifty films and thousands of television episodes, it continues to be enormously satisfying, one hundred percent creative, and less anxiety provoking than working as a song writer looking for his next gig.

HH: Who have been your major influences?

Robert: I would name my mother and, to some degree, Jim Henson. Mother took her passion – tennis – and made an entire life for herself around it both on and off the court. Jim Henson showed he could be an artist, a businessman, and an entrepreneur, all at the same time.”

HH: Thanks so much for your time.

Robert: My pleasure.


Writer-producer Mark Goffman's (KSG '94) next episode of REUNION “1989” will air on Nov. 3 at 9:00 p.m. on FOX, after The OC.

David Kowarsky '05 has launched his online portfolio/business identity at, promoting his video production services and performance talent. For corporate video or other productions, consider Khyros Multimedia.

Warren Hsu Leonard HLS '99 celebrates the release of his new book "Cut! - Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies” on November 1st. Being published by Barron's and Global Book Publishing, the story recounts horrific and tragic true-life Hollywood tales in a fun, colorful, coffee-table book style. Warren is co-author and this is his first published book. For more information, visit

Larry Tanz '92, MA '93 is Executive Producer of "First Descent", the story of the snowboarding revolution. The film is being released theatrically by Universal Pictures on December 2, 2005.


Keith Quinn '92 has re-joined LivePlanet from Mark Burnett Productions. Keith was one of the founding execs at the company 5 years ago.

Albert Cheng HBS ’97 has been promoted to EVP of Digital Media for Disney-ABC Television Group, where he will oversee websites, VOD, and wireless initiatives for the network, news, and cable channels.


Carlton Cuse ‘81, Executive Producer of LOST, won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards in September.

Lucy Fisher ’71 and her husband, Douglas Wick, will receive the Hollywood Producers of the Year Award at the Hollywood Film Festival. Their upcoming productions include “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Jarhead”.

Six Degrees of Harvardwood -- Testimonial

From Lara Hirner '05

I graduated this past June from Harvard College, and unlike my many friends who had landed financial positions or been accepted in law or medical school, I didn't have an inkling of a post-graduation plan. All I knew was that I wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. I joined Harvardwood late in my undergraduate career, so I was only able to take advantage of the summer internships once, and still had only a vague idea of what was out there. So I posted to Harvardwood, listing the variety of skills I had obtained from the variety of jobs I had held as an undergraduate, and expressed my interest in finding a job in Boston or NY that would give me a good understanding of some aspect of the industry. Not even a day later, I received an email from Rex Dean at Heartbeat Media in Waltham, MA, offering me a position as an executive assistant at his production company. I've been working at Heartbeat for three weeks and have already helped film a documentary and organize pre-production for our upcoming feature film shoot. I'm very excited to be working with Rex, and wouldn't have had this great opportunity without the tremendous resource that is Harvardwood! Thanks!


DO YOU HAVE A TESTIMONIAL TO SHARE? Please send me a short note or email with your testimonial about how Harvardwood has helped you? Email [email protected] and for each testimonial receive, a free month of membership (limit 3 per person).

Featured Member Posting – Harvardwood Holiday Party

The Harvardwood Event Committee cordially invites you to attend the 2005 HARVARDWOOD ANNUAL GALA AND HOLIDAY PARTY.

Featuring… Dinner * Music * Dancing * Cash Bar


8:00 PM – 12:00 AM

665 N. Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA

$25 Harvardwood Members
$30 Non-Harvardwood Members (Affiliates and Guests)
$35 At the Door (Cash / Check Only)

Please RSVP by November 1, 2005 by mailing your payment to: 8954 Wonderland Avenue, LA, CA 90046

Or purchase a ticket via PayPal:


If you wish to purchase more than one ticket online, send an email to: [email protected] specifying the total number of tickets requested (member and nonmember) – we will send you a PayPal invoice to complete the RSVP.


  • Alison McManus, Harvardwood Event Chair
  • Mia Riverton, Harvardwood President
  • Stacey Collins
  • Allison Kiessling
  • Melissa Lee
  • Susanna Lee
  • Elizabeth Atwater Menes
  • Crescent Muhammad
  • Sirpa Nelson
  • Nick Weiss


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