Saturday, April 20, 2013

Panel Discussion: Future of the Music Industry

Join some of the music industry’s most powerful and influential executives—Richard Leher '66, Stephen Cooper '68, John Branca '72, and Ian Montone '94—and acclaimed new talent Ramona Gonzalez '09 (recording artist Nite Jewel) for an entertaining and informative discussion.


  • Location: Mosher 1 - Norris Hall of Chemistry
  • Time: 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
  • Price: Free
  • Sponsor: President's Office,
Panelist Bios

Richard Leher '66
After graduating from Occidental as a philosophy major and from the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), Richard Leher practiced entertainment law for nearly 25 years at the Los Angeles office of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. During the decade that followed, he was an executive at Hollywood Records, a division of the Walt Disney Co., and at DreamWorks Records. He now practices entertainment law at Greenberg Traurig in its Los Angeles office.

Leher has extensive experience representing recording artists, record producers, music publishers, songwriters, personal managers, agents, record companies, publishing companies, and various technology companies and executives. Among the clients he has represented are Paramount Pictures, A&M Records, Polygram Records, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, and Josh Groban, as well as numerous executives at record companies, publishing companies, and movie studios.

Stephen Cooper '68
Stephen Cooper is Warner Music Group’s chief executive officer. He is a member of the supervisory board for LyondellBasell Industries N.V., one of the world’s largest olefins, polyolefins, chemicals, and refining companies. Cooper is an adviser at Zolfo Cooper, a leading financial advisory and interim management firm, of which he was a co-founder and former chairman. 

Cooper is also managing partner of Cooper Investment Partners, a private equity firm.  He has more than 30 years of experience as a financial adviser, and has served as chairman or chief executive officer of various businesses, including vice chairman and member of the office of Chief Executive Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and CEO of Hawaiian Telcom.

Cooper received a B.A. from Occidental and an MBA  from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

John Branca '72
John Branca, a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham, LLP, grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and moved to Los Angeles at age 11.  He attended Los Angeles City College as a music major, and graduated from Occidental and the UCLA School of Law. Branca was a songwriter and musician with Original Sound Records before attending college.

Branca specializes in the music and live appearance industries. He is a leading artist representative, having represented an unprecedented 29 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, and Carlos Santana, among others, and such other artists and celebrities as Enrique Iglesias, Nickelback and Mike Tyson. His practice also includes corporate, business, and strategic consulting for major and independent music labels, investors in the music industry, and other key players in the music, live-appearance, and digital industries, including advice with regard to the acquisition and sale of music companies and assets.

He serves on the Board of Trustees of Occidental, is an active fundraiser for the UCLA Athletic Department, and serves as chairman of MusiCares Capital Campaign, the leading industry charity devoted to helping members of the music community. Branca also serves on the board of trustees of the Grammy Museum and the Pauley Pavilion Renovation Campaign Committee.

Branca is a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, where he lives with wife Linda, daughter Jessica, and sons John Connor and Dylan.  An avid collector, Branca’s collections of Italian antiques and vintage baseball cards are among the finest in the world.
Ian Montone '94
Ian Montone is the founder of the music management company Monotone Inc. and co-founder of the media and production group LBI Entertainment.  Monotone Inc.'s clients include Jack White, the White Stripes, Foster the People, the Shins, Vampire Weekend, Danger Mouse, James Murphy, the Dead Weather, Ratatat, Broken Bells, The Raconters, Cold War Kids, Pete Yorn, among others.  Under the aegis of LBI Entertainment, Montone and his partner Rick Yorn manage the careers of Jude Law and Jamie Foxx. Before founding Monotone Inc., Montone was a partner at the law firm of Davis, Shapiro, Lewit & Hayes, focusing on music and entertainment.
Ramona Gonzalez '09
In January 2008—while working toward a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Occidental—Ramona Gonzalez began recording the songs for what would become her debut LP as Nite Jewel (titled My CD). With assistance from her husband, Cole M. Greif-Neill, she created songs on a portable eight-track cassette recorder. She told Occidental Magazine in 2010 that “moments of ecstasy, emotion, and hardship” were her inspiration for those recordings.
Soon after starting her MySpace music page, her song “Suburbia” was selected to be in director Noah Baumbach’s film Greenberg, and she released a second album, Good Evening, in 2009. Within a year Nite Jewel was touring European festivals, and she has since released a number of EPs. Her most recent album, 2012's One Second of Love, was her first for the Secretly Canadian label. Gonzalez also is a multimedia artist and has exhibited a number of video and sound installation pieces in Los Angeles.