Sound Collage Contest 4

Grand Prize Winner

1: Grand Prize Winner Photo: 

Paul Sefchovich Sissa

  • Ableton Suite  or $500 towards Ableton products
  • Max for Live
  • A Novation Launchpad

Ableton Suite 8 and Novation Launch Pad

Second Place

2: Second Place Winner Photo: 

Cameron Roe

  • Ableton Live or $300 towards Ableton Products
  • Max for Live

Ableton Live 8

Third Place

3: Third Prize Winner Photo: 

Javon Flax

  • Ableton Live Intro or $150 towards Ableton products

Ableton Live Intro


4,5,6,7: Finalist Photo: 

This content requires Flash Player 10.1 (or a more recent version). You need to upgrade your Flash Player

(from left to right) Cameron Roe, Paul Batchelor, Tyler Larson, Javon Flax, Axel Klimek, Paul Sefchovich Sissa. (Not Shown: Bryce Quinn)

The 4th annual Sound Collage Contest was a success! With 33 entries, there were some phenomenal pieces, many of which were well-deserving of winning the grand prize. The showcase event, MC'ed by Learning Center Training Coordinator Chris Fitzgerald, featured a premiere of the seven finalists' pieces and comments from each. We created the contest to provide students with an educational and creative opportunity to use their laptops and software. For the contest, we asked them to create a composition based around audio samples that we recorded and provided. Special thanks to Scott Mabuchi and Joe James of the MP&E department for use of the studios, and to Claire Steger and the EPD department for use of the portable stereo recorder.

The contestants pieces went before a screening panel, and were scored on the creative use of our provided samples, the musicality and production quality of their piece. The top 7 scoring pieces became our finalists, and were passed on to the judging panel.

This year's judging panel included Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live drummer), Dennis DeSantis (NYC Composer & Sound Designer), Dave Hill Jr. (Managerial Director of Ableton Inc.), Kurt Biederwolf (EP&D Chair, Berklee College of Music), and Fernando Monroy Vera (Sound Collage Contest 3 Winner).

Our winners this year are Paul Sefchovich Sissa in 1st (winning Ableton Suite, Max for Live and a Launchpad by Novation), Cameron Roe in 2nd (winning Ableton Live and Max for Live) and Javon Flax in 3rd (winning Ableton Live Intro). The other 4 finalists are Paul Batchelor, Tyler Larson, Bryce Quinn, and Axel Klimek. Special thanks to our contest sponsors Ableton and Novation, to our screeners and judging panel, and to the MP&E and EPD departments. Take a listen to the winning pieces below.

A very special thanks to Dave Hill, Dennis DeSantis, Charles Hillel and the folks at Ableton, and Miriam Wiener at Focusrite Novation for sponsoring the contest, and providing the prizes.

Grand Prize

Ableton Suite 8 and Novation Launch Pad

  • Ableton Suite  or $500 towards Ableton products
  • Max for Live
  • A Novation Launchpad
Second Place

Ableton Live 8

  • Ableton Live or $300 towards Ableton Products
  • Max for Live
Third Place

Ableton Live Intro

  • Ableton Live Intro or $150 towards Ableton products

Contestants will create a musical composition by combining and manipulating provided audio samples.

Currently enrolled Berklee students only. Work-study students affiliated with the Learning Center are not eligible to participate.


We have provided multiple audio samples of which 5 or more must be at least partially used somewhere in your composition. You can tweak, reverse, or mangle them as much as you like. Your piece can be any genre or style, using any instruments or electronic elements you see fit, and must be no longer than 3 minutes in length. It will be judged on three components:
• Creativity in your use of the samples
• Quality of your recording & adherence to regulations
• Musicality

The Learning Center will have a number of music technology related forum topics and software-training sessions to help you learn the tools to craft your Sound Collage. We also have one-to-one software tutoring support available. Check our site at for more information

Your piece on a clearly labeled data or audio CD, and an entry form in a sealed envelope.

Tuesday, March 8th 6:00PM in the Media Center
• Winners will be announced and prizes awarded
• More details to be announced

Get on the Sound Collage Contest e-mailing list below.

Contest samples recorded at Berklee and around Boston. Special Thanks to Dave Hill from Ableton, Claire Steger from the EPD Department, and to Scott Mabuchi, Joe James, and Tarik Monsanto-Mahrour from the MP&E Department.


Shawn PeltonShawn Pelton, SNL Drummer

Shawn Pelton must be doing something right. Having recorded with a wide range of top artists and establishing himself as a first call player since moving to New York in the late 80's. Known for his great feel, deep soulful pocket and a high level of musicianship across a broad range of styles, Shawn has recorded with artists such as: Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Sheryl Crow, Elton John, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Pink, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson, Five For Fighting, Michelle Branch, Regina Spektor, Tears For Fears, Citizen Cope, Jonatha Brooke, Matisyahu, David Bryne, Edie Brickell, Marc Cohn, Richie Havens, Joan Osborne, Hall And Oates, Odetta, Pavorotti, George Michael, Carly Simon, Dixie Chicks, Chris Botti, Buddy Guy, Abbey Lincoln. As well as on several Grammy winning albums including Ray Charles, The Brecker Brothers, Shakira, Shawn Colvin, Les Paul and the Hank Williams tribute album with Bob Dylan.

Such a broad discography shows a rare ability to be at home playing on a top ten track by Pink, recording with Jazz legend Abbey Lincoln or an Icon like Bob Dylan. When he isn't under headphones Shawn can be scene as part of the prestigious Saturday Night Live Band holding down the drum chair since 1992.

Dennis DeSantisDennis DeSantis, NYC Composer Sound Designer

Dennis DeSantis is a composer, sound designer, and percussionist based in New York City. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music, and also holds degrees from Yale and Western Michigan University. His principal composition teachers have included Christopher Rouse, Evan Ziporyn, and Martin Bresnick, and he has studied percussion with John Beck and Judy Moonert as well as jazz drumming with Billy Hart. DeSantis's electronic music has appeared on a variety of labels including Ghostly, Global Underground, Cocoon and Kanzleramt, and he has performed at clubs and venues throughout North America and Europe, as well as at the SONAR Festival in Tokyo. His original tracks and remixes regularly appear in the playlists of the world's top DJs including such luminaries as Laurent Garnier, Funk D'Void, and Danny Howells (who selected two of his tracks for his "Miami" mix record in 2005.) In 2010, he was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art to produce an evening-length electronic work for the Whitney Biennial. As a composer of concert music, DeSantis has been commissioned and performed by Alarm Will Sound, eighth blackbird, So Percussion, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, Opus 21, and Relâche, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Recent highlights include a commission from the Staatsoper Stuttgart for an opera with electronics and a Carnegie Hall commission to arrange the music of Autechre for chamber orchestra. DeSantis received a Grammy certificate in 2008 for his work on eighth blackbird's Grammy-winning strange imaginary animals. From 2003 to 2005 DeSantis lived in Berlin, where he worked as a sound designer for Native Instruments. He is now Head of Documentation for Ableton.

Dave Hill Jr.Dave Hill Jr., Managerial Director of Ableton Inc.

Dave Hill Jr. joined Ableton in 2003, managing their North American Sales and Marketing efforts from Ableton's office in New York. His book, Ableton Live 2 Power (2003) was the world's first book on Ableton Live and established him as one of the foremost experts on using Ableton software. Prior to working at Ableton, Hill's drumming career included years of recording, touring, and collaborating with notable indie bands in the Seattle area. Hill has worked with artists such as Michael Shrieve (Santana), Shawn Pelton (SNL Band), Brad Houser (Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians) and James Rotondi (Air). As a writer, Hill contributed to many magazines including Remix, Mix, Electronic Musician, Music Tech, and Modern Drummer Magazine.

Kurt BiederwolfKurt Biederwolf, EPD Chair, Berklee College of Music

Electronic Music & Production Chair at Berklee College of Music. B.M. Berklee College of Music. National and international performer/clinician in music and technology -- Staff synthesist and writer at Crushing Enterprises in New York, and Verité Music in Boston -- Composer, performer and synthesist for national and regional television and radio broadcasts -- Sound design/MIDI production work for Steps Ahead, Tom Coster, Apple Computer, and the Aircraft Music Library.

Fernando MonroyFernando Monroy Vera, Sound Collage Contest 3 Winner

Fernando Monroy Vera is the winner of the Sound Collage Contest 3. He is a Film Scoring and CWP major and piano principal. Fernando wrote, arranged, performed and recorded music for the promotion and "Memories DVD" of curZOO, a very well known summer program offered by the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City, the biggest zoo in the country. He hosts a Sunday morning radio show on the BIRN (Berklee Internet Radio Network, and is constantly composing in many different genres.