Advisory Board

Edna Landau

Edna Landau has dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to the field of artist management. She was a Director of IMG Artists from its founding in 1984 until her departure from the company in October of 2007. Her global vision, passion for the arts and uncompromising work ethic played a major role in launching this unique company, which is now the only truly international performing arts management company in the world. At IMG Artists, Ms. Landau personally looked after the career of the world’s premier violinist, Itzhak Perlman, for 21 years and launched the careers of current musical superstars such as pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang, violinist Hilary Hahn and conductors Franz Welser-Most and Alan Gilbert.  She participated in the international strategic planning that contributed to IMG Artists gaining its current pre-eminent international standing and oversaw its operations in North America.

In June of 2008, the Colburn School in Los Angeles announced the creation of a new position for Ms. Landau. In her role of Director of Career Development, she designed a special curriculum intended to broaden the horizons of its students and enhance their preparedness for post-conservatory life. She also offered personalized one-on-one career counseling to the students. Ms. Landau held this position for three years and has continued to offer career advice to its alumni.

In September 2013, Ms. Landau was invited to work with students at The Juilliard School as a special career consultant. She greatly enjoys the one-on-one guidance and strategic planning that she offers the students, as well as the seminars and guest talks that are part of her responsibilities.

Edna Landau’s intense desire to help young performing artists and advocate on their behalf inspired her to write a comprehensive article entitled “Getting Noticed in the 21st Century”, which was published in Musical America’s 2011 Directory. That association led to the creation of Ms. Landau’s career advice blog, “Ask Edna,” which was hosted by Musical America for three and a half years and which drew a large international readership each week. The columns remain available on Musical America’s website.

Edna Landau is frequently invited to lecture at college and conservatory campuses and to meet with students in career training programs. She also offers consulting services to individual artists and to non-profit organizations such as the Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which she helped to found as a fundraising arm of the celebrated orchestra.

Ms. Landau received her B.A. in Music and M.A. in Musicology from City College and the City University of New York. She was on the faculty of the prestigious High School of Music and Art in New York for five years. Longing to be more closely associated with performing artists, she became Assistant to the Director of Young Concert Artists in 1974. In 1979, she joined up with Charles Hamlen to launch Hamlen/Landau Management, a unique agency that was dedicated to the representation of extraordinary artists and to extending to them and to presenters an unparalleled level of service and integrity. The company quickly gained recognition and attracted the attention of International Management Group’s Chairman, Mark McCormack, who acquired it in 1984 and re-named it IMG Artists.

Edna Landau’s many years of dedication to the field of arts management have been the subject of a CNN documentary on their series entitled “Movers”, broadcast internationally in the year 2000. She was also featured in New York Magazine’s May 15, 2006 issue entitled “The Influentials” in which she was described as “the intensely coveted, hugely devoted grande dame of New York managers who inspires a rare level of trust and commitment from her clients.”  In January of 2008, the International Society of the Performing Arts awarded Ms. Landau their International Citation of Merit, recognizing her Lifetime Achievement in the performing arts. From 2009 to 2015, she was proud to be a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America.

Morris “Mo” Pleasure

Known affectionately as Mo Pleasure, this internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer began playing acoustic piano at the age of four, composed his first song at age 12 and by his early teens already mastered several instruments including bass, trumpet, guitar, drums and violin in genres that include pop, funk, jazz, R&B, soul, Brazilian, and classical music. Pleasure holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of Connecticut.

He has devoted time to philanthropic efforts including fundraising for the Guilford ABC Program and Guilford High School music programs and co-founded “We R 1 Voice” with his wife Lori in 2013. Pleasure is currently a Music Director for Bette Midler.

Pleasure started his career as a bass player after graduating college when he became a member of Ray Charles’ orchestra in 1986. From 1989 through 1992, Mo was both keyboardist and musical director with saxophonist Najee, pianist Alex Bugnon, and vocalists Philip Bailey, Patti Austin and Jon Lucien. In 1993, he became a member of the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire, and ascended to become the band’s musical director from 1994-2001. Mo was featured playing keyboards, trumpet and guitar with Janet Jackson’s 2001 All for You tour and played keyboards and trumpet with Boney James’ 2004 Pure tour. As a principal member of the group Devoted Spirits, he was featured playing keyboards for Jimi Hendrix’s 60th Birthday Celebration and the 2004 Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix tour.

He has also recorded and performed with artists including George Duke, Christina Aguilera, Dianne Reeves, Jonathan Butler, Rachelle Ferrell, Brian Culbertson, Michael McDonald, Oleta Adams, Marcus Miller, Average White Band, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Natalie Cole, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Peter Cetera, and David Foster.

There are many Television and Video performances to Mo’s credit, including the Ray Charles BBC Special, Mad TV, BET on Jazz, VH1, The Tonight Show, X- Factor, The Talk, George Lopez Show, Earth, Wind & Fire documentary Shining Stars and the HBO Special Janet Jackson in Hawaii. His movie soundtrack credits include “Talkin’” featured in the Disney movie Three Men and a Little Lady and the EWF single “Cruisin” featured in Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus. Pleasure also appeared in the 2009 Michael Jackson documentary This Is It.

In addition to performing at worldwide jazz festivals including Montreux, North Sea, St. Lucia, Cancun, and Montreal, Mo has been a featured concert pianist, performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and for the Boston Ballet.

Joseph “Yossi” Somer

Joseph “Yossi” Somer is an award-winning Norwegian-Israeli film industry professional and entrepreneur. Across a thirty-nine year career, his work has won eight Israeli Academy Awards, two Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal at Worldfest Houston, and numerous awards and citations at various prestigious international film events. The Economist named him as one of the pioneers of cinematic “magical realism” because of his utilization of computer-generated images in motion picture production (Dybbuk).

Yossi has cooperated with legendary musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd on the original motion picture soundtrack for his film, The Dybbuk of the Holy Apple Field. The soundtrack album that Yossi produced, involving DJ Dorfmeister of Vienna and DJ Shantel of Frankfurt, won best soundtrack in 1998. The American remake of Dybbuk is in the works for production by 2018. Yossi has also worked with Norwegian master jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, who wrote the original soundtrack for his film Burning Memory. In 1983, he created what is considered to be Israel’s first music video, “Don’t Light Me a Candle.” He also produced and directed the music video “Shake our Pom Pom” for Kohinoor, Norway’s woman of the year in 2007. Yossi has collaborated with the late director Fred Zinneman (High Noon, Julia, Oklahoma) and German film producer Klaus Hellwig (The Lace Maker, F for Fake, Providence).

He studied at the London Film School from late director Charles Crichton (Fish called Wanda) and established the Theater Seeking Youth organization at Haifa Theater. Yossi has also worked for Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures as Property Master and has supervised more than 75 successful projects that were the foundation of an education plan delivered to the Ministry of Education ́s Film & Communication department for 3D and animation. Based in Oslo, Yossi is currently the driving force behind the establishment and development of Animaze Technology AS. Animaze is a game changing technology with a proprietary algorithm for precise lip-synching 3D animation and gaming, in any language. The company is currently considered the first mover in its category and is preparing the product demo for market entry 2017.

James Schaffer

James Schaffer is the Principal at Charity Spring, whose expertise lies in Nonprofit Organization Management. After reporting directly to the founders of Covenant House, AmeriCares, the Urban Justice Center, and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (now also Serious Fun Children’s Network) during each of these organization’s earliest years, he’s since served international, national and community based organizations, one to three charities at a time, typically on staff as the interim senior development officer for one or more years. Charity Spring is carried out in service to the poor, and to contribute to the nonprofit sector’s pursuit of accomplishment. James is a frequent contributor to Nonprofit Quarterly.

Below is a partial list of past and/or current causes James has had the privilege of serving.

AmeriCares, Emmaus International, International Executive Service Corps, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Nonprofit Quarterly, Norwegian People’s Aid, OMSC, Save the Children, Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, TechnoServe, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UNHCR and Wide Horizons for Children.

A Better Chance, America’s Promise Alliance, Catholic Worker, Combined Federal Campaign, Covenant House, Good Counsel, The Giving Back Fund, Michael Bolton Charities, National Gardening Association and Urban Justice Center.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States
Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Catholic Schools of Fairfield County, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Domus Foundation, Guilford Public Schools, HomeFront, Inspirica, Leeway, Liberty Community Services, Mutual Housing Association of South Central Connecticut, NeighborWorks New Horizons, Outer Island, Part of the Solution and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Elam Kott

Elam Kott was Commander of the Israeli army for 25 years retiring with the rank of Colonel. While on active duty, Mr. Kott held various command and headquarter positions and served as a deputy IDF spokesman from 1997–2002. As a spokesperson for the IDF, he dealt extensively with the Israeli and foreign press.

Elam headed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Resource Development at Tel-Aviv University and is now the owner and CEO of Isra-Connext, a unique consulting firm that provides international organizations, foreign governments and embassies with advice on national security, entrepreneurship and foreign and domestic regional policy. The company provides services to the Foreign Press Company in Israel, providing special consulting and strategic plans for NGO and Municipalities in Israel.

Mr. Kott was appointed to a position with the Israel Education Fund in 2004 and then was in charge of Public Relations between the Israeli government and other nations.

Mr. Kott was previously appointed by the Governor of Nevada to be Nevada’s business liaison to Israel, working with the Las Vegas Jewish Federation as a special Israel emissary to insure that the agreements arrived at between Israel and Nevada would be implemented. In 2004 Mr. Kott was chosen by the JFNA- Jewish Federation of North America to serve as Vice President and the Head the United States-Israeli Education foundation, based in New York. During his four year tenure Mr. Kott and his staff raised more than $170 Million, has organized several high level conventions and conferences giving members of the U.S. Young Jewish leadership the opportunity to visit Israel for the first time, and helped to establish a wide range of social service programs in Israel under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Mr. Kott has close ties with the government as well as major leading organizations in Israel. Mr. Kott is a 7th generation Israeli from Petach Tikva and lives near Tel Aviv.

Richard Brownstein

Richard Brownstein has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and began his career in music. His love for jazz and the technical side of music led him to the University of Miami School of Music and Engineering. The program was the first of its kind with a major in both music and electrical engineering under the direction of Bill Porter, Elvis Presley’s personal engineer.

After graduating, he went to New York City and worked as a staff engineer at Howard Schwartz Studios engineering advertising jingles for radio and TV.  During this time, Richard migrated from studio work to film shoots and live production working in broadcast. His recording career earned him platinum and gold album credits with The Rolling Stones, Kool and the Gang and Kiss, to name a few. But when the music business entered the digital age, he recognized that engineers would be short-lived. He changed careers and transitioned into financial planning, working specifically within the industry he loves.

Richard started The Sound Entrepreneur in 2015 when he realized there wasn’t a business news or advice destination for entrepreneurs in entertainment. The podcast “Sound Advice” is hosted and produced by Richard. He interviews a variety of business owners and entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry to find out how they have reached success. Richard is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. A skilled speaker and lecturer, he was the host of a financial TV show, Road to Riches, and has lectured on many financial topics. He is a national instructor, teaching Retirement Planning Today® courses at local colleges in New Jersey. Actively involved in the community, he is a member of Advisors in Philanthropy and the Audio Engineering Society. He is a former board member of the Chilton Medical Center and past President of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce.

Today, he continues to help business owners and performers in entertainment and the arts build and preserve their wealth. Richard’s core focus with clients includes financial planning, wealth management, tax planning, risk management, retirement planning, estate and succession planning.

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