TEDxNYIT 2014: Speaker Profiles
The vocal percussion and voice virtuosa, multi-talented "Butterscotch" is the hottest upcoming young artist of today's music scene. Being the world’s best female beatboxer, she has created a unique style. While she beatboxes, she sings and plays either guitar or piano, performing her own compositions and jazz standards. Sometimes she even emulates the trumpet in her performance. Butterscotch is heavily influenced by jazz, classical music, Hip Hop and R&B, ranging from Frederick Chopin to Billie Holiday and Stevie Wonder. She is truly a one-woman show, performing either solo or with her band. She also does Beatbox workshops and DJ events.
Butterscotch always loved music, but it wasn't until she started beatboxing that she found her passion in creating a new style, bridging the gaps between musical genres within the vocal percussion art form. She started entering competitions, and as she improved, she claimed titles as both the first International World Female Beatbox Champion and the West Coast Beatbox Champion for both genders. Butterscotch has made such an impact on young women that she was even the inspiration for a teenage girl to be transformed into a beatboxer on MTV’s MADE.
In 2007, Butterscotch gained international fame by appearing as a finalist on NBC's America‘s Got Talent. She won the hearts of many, and through mass exposure she began her journey to stardom.
After her rapid rise to popularity, she started to make her mark and found herself performing alongside music legends such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Patti Austin, Wah Wah Watson, Mike Patton, and Dan the Automator and has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, Wyclef Jean, Will.I.Am, Raphael Saadiq, Sheila E, and Rahzel. She is featured on albums by SMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten) and on George Benson’s “Song’s & Stories,” and prodigious pianist Beka Gochiashvili & DJ Logic's "Chillin in Batumi.
After having these amazing experiences in the U.S., in 2012 she took European and Asian audiences by storm, performing at the most prestigious summer festivals. At the Montreux Jazz Festival, founder Claude Nobs was so impressed by her talent that he put her on the major stages to open up for Tony Bennett and Anastasia, and invited her to join Niles Rogers and Sergio Mendez during their performances. In 2013, Butterscotch performed her compositions for the first time with the highly established, Grammy Award-winning WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. Later that year, she toured with the Danish Radio Big Band and the Blue House Big Band from Stockholm, opening up for Patti Austin. She also toured with German comedian Helge Schneider and appeared in his movie, 00 Schneider im Wenderkreis der Eidechse.
Butterscotch is currently finishing her debut album to be released in 2015. She stars in the new show "Vegas Nocturne" at Rose.Rabbit.Lie in The Cosmopolitan Hotel, that has received rave reviews for its original concept and creativity. In her spare time, Butterscotch continues to give beatbox workshops when she is not performing and continues to live her dream of touching the world with her music.
“Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank
Barbara Corcoran’s credits include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country: She borrowed $1,000 and quit her job as a waitress to start a tiny real estate company in New York City. Over the next 25 years Barbara would parlay that $1,000 loan into a billion real estate business, building the largest and best known brand in the business.
Corcoran is the author of the bestseller Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion-Dollar Business! She is a motivational and inspirational speaker, is the real estate contributor for The Today Show on NBC, and a frequent contributor to every major network. Corcoran’s new syndicate, Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, allows would-be angels to invest alongside her.
Wolfgang G. Gilliar, D.O., FAAPMR
Dean and Professor
NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
Wolfgang G. Gilliar, D.O. is an osteopathic physician who is double boarded in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. He currently serves as the Dean of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine School, which, with 1,200 students, is one of the largest such programs in the United States. Dr. Gilliar also is the Chairman of the Board of the New York Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Educational Consortium with nearly 40 hospital/health institution members.
Dr. Gilliar has dedicated his professional life to innovating and transforming medical education to advance the practice of healthcare to a truly patient-centered, population-based approach, supported by illuminating research. “Medical education, and education in general, is so much more than imparting sterile facts and routine skill sets,” he states; education is meant to “foster an active ‘coming into one’s own’ process for each individual by drawing from the arts, sciences, technologies, and business practices together with a sense of belonging and true compassion.” He believes that through innovative educational experiences, future physicians will become true civic leaders. He believes that osteopathic medicine, in particular, has an open access to such ideas as it is guided by a philosophy of body unity, structure, and function relationships and an emphasis of the musculoskeletal system on overall health. Dr. Gilliar received the highest honor of the American Osteopathic Foundation when he was awarded the Educator of Year Distinction in 2012.
Dr. Gilliar is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. in biochemistry and honors physics. He earned his Doctor of Osteopathy degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. from 1987-1990. Dr. Gilliar has served on the faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine, where twice he received the Special Teaching Award in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Gilliar is the author/coauthor of more than 15 medical texts and numerous journal articles and has lectured worldwide.
An accomplished artist, Dr. Gilliar’s paintings and photographs represent both a balance and catalyst to his professional work. Being able to draw on “both sides of the brain lets me approach a topic or issue in a way that otherwise I would not be able to.”
Dr. Gilliar believes that through educational innovation, health needs – both globally and locally - can be approached in more direct and pivotal ways than has happened to this point; “stimulating our students and future physicians to look to the arts and to discuss (yet) uncomfortable ideas will expand horizons that will ultimately be of benefit to society at large.”
“Innovation in education and transformation in care will advance medical practice altogether – both globally and locally.”
Chartered Architect, Principal Lecturer and Program Lead
Master’s in Applied Design in Architecture
Oxford Brookes University
Harriet Harriss is also the founding director of “Live Lab,” a university-situated incubator for architecture business start-ups and community-engaged student projects committed to social innovation. Her “Live Project” programs partner public sector organizations with architecture students to co-create real-time designs that respond to specific community challenges. This program also enables design students to gain key professional skills during their higher education training, empowering the architects of tomorrow to achieve civic engagement and more impactful design responses.
Founder and Director
Nate Heasley is founder and director of Goodnik, a nonprofit that promotes social enterprise and socially responsible business. He recently launched Goodnikels, a time-based alternative currency to support social impact organizations. Heasley has a B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis Md., and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in New York, where he was a Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights and a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics.
Excited by the possibilities of a future full of playful and inventive opportunities Bittertang was founded by Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich as a small design farm to bring humor and pleasure to the built environment. Their work uses fables and narrative to build new worlds that explore frothiness, biological matter, animal posturing, and babies all unified together through bel composto. As creators of physical things Bittertang relies on the dialogue between visceral and digital matter to generate and invigorate their work. Although trained as architects their prolific interests and methodology associates them closely to the organization of a farm. Bittertang material is breed, coaxed and grown to yield tasty morsels, new exotic beasts and fertilizer for future growth. Recently, they have built three inflatable pavilions, a pregnant sugar oozing pinata, a plush toy collection, a sagging birdcage, a room of wax, an edible environment, and a giant rotting amphitheater.
Michael Loverich, cofounder of Bittertang, lives in Manhattan where he experiments with edible and living materials. He graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in architecture before moving to New York to work for Reiser + Umemoto followed by Snohetta. He teaches at UPenn and has won and built a handful of architectural competitions.
Too Many Zooz
Forged in the depths of the New York City subway system, Too Many Zooz is unlike anything you've ever heard. While only consisting of three members (Matt Doe on trumpet, Leo P. on baritone saxophone, King of Sludge on drums/percussion), Too Many Zooz has the ability of producing a booming sound. This organic music, which they call "Brasshouse," is the musical culmination of all different styles and upbringings.
While still a young band, Too Many Zooz has received quite a bit of attention. The New York Post calls them "The hottest thing in New York City music". Questlove (The Legendary Roots Crew) tweeted a video of them, saying, "THIS is how The Roots got their start....minus Youtube to spread the quicker word. Peep NYC's own".
While Too Many Zooz grows and continues on their journey, you can still find them from time to time at the largest night club in the world: New York City's subway system.
Victoria Nizarala is an architecture and urbanism junior at Universidade Federal da Bahia in Bahia, Brazil. After graduating from high school in Brazil, she studied in Berkeley, Calif., for three months, and now participates in a one-year exchange program to study architecture at New York Tech. She’s had many great learning experiences at New York Tech so far, including work on an installation at the 2014 Burning Man Festival in August in Reno, Nev.
Nizarala enjoys traveling and takes the opportunity to study and learn architecture from the places she visits. Inspired by her upbringing near Salvador in Brazil, a World Heritage site, she plans to work in the fields of restoration and architecture history in the future.
Chad Oppenheim, a graduate of Cornell University, is the founding principal of OPPENHEIM Architecture and Design, an architecture, interior design, and planning firm based in Miami, Fla., with an office in Basel, Switzerland. The firm has earned more than 60 career distinctions, including the 2013 AIA Miami Firm of the Year prize. Oppenheim creates evocative, economic design solutions that embrace physical and spiritual sensitivities toward humans and nature. His projects spanning 25 countries are crafted to establish the perfect balance between artistry and economics—a timeless architecture that is as beautiful as it is functional. The firm specializes in mixed-use hotels and resorts, retail spaces, commercial offices, and residential buildings that serve to enhance life around the world.
Sanderson is a landscape ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, exploring the intersection between cities and nature. He is the author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, 2009), focusing on the ecology of Manhattan Island at the time of European discovery, and Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (Abrams 2013), about the ecological future of the United States. Sanderson holds a Ph.D. in ecosystem and landscape ecology (University of California, Davis, 1998) and has published extensively on conservation issues.
Born in Hickory, N.C., and raised by Bengali scientists, Nathan Nabin “Brooklyn Shanti” Laskar has been courageous and daring in how he both honors and re-translates his relationship to his cultural heritage. As he himself has suggested, “Flipping Bangla to change the context” has been an important aspect of his vision as an artist and human. His belief that cultural identity doesn’t have to be blatant in order to be part of the subtext is key to his larger vision, and has resulted in a textured and daring set of collaborations on his current album, Bedstuyle.
Brooklyn Shanti is widely regarded as an accomplished producer, emcee, and pioneer of Global/Tropical Bass/Dancehall fusion, and is hip-hop’s official cultural ambassador to India. Dubbed by Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation as the Indian Bambaataa, over the last decade, Brooklyn Shanti’s unique and innovative artistic voice has enabled the transformation of South Asia’s appreciation for hip-hop. His diverse and wide-ranging talents have led him to work with some of the world’s leading artists including Bollywood legends A.R. Rahman and Sohail Sen, electronic gurus Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, the Dum Dum Project, as well as Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood), Afrika Bambaataa, Thomas Blondet, and the Foreign Beggars, among many others.
Since his blazing arrival on the music scene, his integrity as an artist has shown in his support of other musicians as well. Brooklyn Shanti has established himself as a supporter and producer of a wide spectrum of female artists such as Vanessa Beatriz, Dani Mari, Major Lazer’s Mela Murder, and many others. When asked about his refusal to contribute to music or art about women in denigrating ways, Shanti has said, “I don’t want to do anything that’s not me…music comes from my spirit, from my essence. I never want to get on the mic and sell a record that’s not true to who I am.” Breaking boundaries and challenging young female talents to excel has been part of his larger vision, and he has recently guided famous Bollywood starlet, Evelyn Sharma, into adding songstress to her already impressive repertoire via their collaboration, “Something Beautiful”. He has also recently composed original tracks that were paired with up and coming poet Tarfia Faizullah’s poems, resulting in a musical spoken word collaboration and performance.
This spirit of collaboration defines and informs Brooklyn Shanti’s larger vision as an artist and a musician. His belief in spectacular art rising out of community has resulted in projects that defy cultural boundaries and transform the way we consider global fusion. Of note is his affiliation with Rawkus Records. In 2007, the label released his previous full length. However, it folded during his album’s promotional tour. Shanti is also part of Brooklyn’s vibrant Dutty Artz collective which has cultivated a Latin/South Asian collaboration with DJ/producer, Geko Jones. He is also currently working on an album with Afrika Bambaataa and Karsh Kale for the South Asian market, with Camp Lo on a Bengal vs Bronx fusion project, and he has enlisted Cumba Mela’s Thornato to work on a Bengali dancehall album. Shanti has also written and released a song based on author Vikram Chandra’s stories, which Chandra has publicly stated that he wants played at his funeral. Shanti is also in the process of putting together a band with Karsh Kale to tour his current album, Bedstuyle.
CEO and Co-Founder
Jill Sherman has spent over 12 years working in luxury fashion. Most recently, she was running the Miu Miu Visual Department at Prada USA and Asia Pacific, accountable for the strategic development of the brand's image and expansion within all boutique and wholesale accounts throughout the United States and Asia. Prior to Prada, Sherman worked at Harvey Nichols managing the buying team, at Vogue magazine as a fashion assistant in the accessories department, and at Italian Vogue as a stylist assistant on photo shoots. She has lived in Asia for five years and holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from MIT Sloan. Sherman was honored by Crain's as a Woman to Watch in NY Tech 2014.
Conductor Emeritus, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Founder and Director, Habitat4Music
Joseph Swensen, active as both a guest conductor and violin soloist, currently holds the posts of Conductor Emeritus of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Founder and Director of the non-profit organization Habitat4Music. He is also a founding member of KahaneSwensenBrey, an exciting new piano trio with Jeffrey Kahane and Carter Brey.
Swensen was principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 1996 to 2005. He was principal guest conductor and artistic adviser to the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (formerly known as the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris) from 2009 to 2012. He has also held positions at the Malmö Opera, Lahti Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He is a busy guest-conductor throughout the world (in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Australia), enjoying long-established relationships with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, London Mozart Players, and Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, amongst others.
Swensen has recently returned to the solo violin repertoire playing concerti again after a 20-year break from his career as a violinist in the 1980s and early 1990s. He has also recently been appointed Professor of Violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
With so many different facets to his career – conductor, violin soloist, chamber musician, composer, and teacher – Swensen is a 360-degree musician. This holistic approach to his career has ensured that he retains his enthusiasm, hunger, and extraordinary energy levels, while also being able to draw on extensive musical and life experience.
Assaff Weisman has been captivating audiences with his intensity, lyricism, and communicative style since his solo debut at the age of 12. The Greenville News observed “this piano virtuoso has facile fingers that toss off daredevil passages with ease and a mind for music that is as nimble as his fingers.” Weisman’s performances have taken him to some of the major venues in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, including appearances at the Rudolfinum in Prague, Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Philips Hall in The Hague, the Millennium Piano Festival in Spain as well as in Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. As first prize winner in the 2006 Iowa International Piano Competition, he has appeared as soloist with the Sioux City Symphony, American Chamber Orchestra, Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, and Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional of Peru.
Weisman’s radio credits include WQXR’s “Young Artist Showcase,” featuring works of Haydn and Scriabin; “The Voice of Music” in Israel; and multiple appearances on WGBH radio in Boston where he has recorded repertoire ranging from Bach to André Previn. He is still the youngest person to appear on that station, making his debut at the age of 12. His 2002 release of an all-Schubert recording for Yamaha’s “NYC Rising Star” series quickly became one of its bestsellers.
An avid chamber musician, Weisman has collaborated with Isidore Cohen, Michael Tree, and Peter Wiley among others, and has taken part in the Aspen Music Festival, Campos do Jordão (Brazil), Lima Chamber Music Festival (Peru), The Music Festival of the Hamptons, and Verbier (Switzerland). He is a founding member and the executive director of the award-winning Israeli Chamber Project, with which he has toured since its founding in 2008.
Making his home in New York City, Weisman can often be heard in such local venues as Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Bargemusic. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Herbert Stessin and where he now is a member of the Evening Division piano faculty. Prior to his studies in New York, he studied with Professor Victor Derevianko in Israel and was supported by scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. My. Weisman is a Yamaha Artist.
Architect, Founding Partner
Young & Ayata
Michael Young is an architect and an educator practicing in New York City. He is a founding partner of the architecture and urban design studio Young & Ayata, recipients in 2014 of the Architectural League’s Prize for Young Architects.
Young is also an assistant professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, where he has taught design in the third- and second-year undergraduate studios as well as graduate seminars on a range of topics. Additionally, he is currently a visiting lecturer at Princeton University. Previously, he taught at the Yale School of Architecture and Columbia GSAPP. He has also been a visiting professor at Shih Chien University, Taipei, Taiwan in 2007; the Crete Technical University in 2010; the GSAPP Studio X summer workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; the Possible Mediums Conference and Workshop at Ohio State University in 2013; and the University of Innsbruck, Austria in 2014.
Young received his master’s degree in architecture from Princeton University, where he was the recipient of the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize. He received his bachelor of architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, including studies at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium and the CVUT in Prague.
Prior to forming Young & Ayata, Michael worked for a number of award-winning architectural firms in New York and San Francisco, including Reiser+Umemoto, Stan Allen Architects, and Pfau Architecture. Young is a Registered Architect in the State of New York.
His drawings are part of the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program and have been shown nationally and internationally. In addition to teaching & practicing, he is invested in writing, research and experimentation on issues concerning geometry, representation, and aesthetics.