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a discussion

wisdom worth sharing from music makers.

Presented by

John Doelp

SVP, Columbia Records

John Doelp is Senior Vice President of A&R (artist and repertoire) and Marketing at Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment, with offices on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. His client list includes artists such as John Legend, Susan Boyle, Harry Connick, Jr., Frankie J, and Ricky Martin. He has worked with Celine Dion since 1990, as Executive Producer for all of her albums with sales of more than 250 million units worldwide.

Previously, Doelp served as President of Crescent Moon Records, a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment and Emilio and Gloria Estefan. In the 1990s, Doelp served as Executive Vice President of Sony 550 Music and Senior Vice President of the Epic Records Group. At Epic, he created and implemented marketing plans for many successful projects, including recordings by Pearl Jam, the Spin Doctors, Michael Jackson, and Gloria Estefan, as well as the movie soundtracks from Sleepless in Seattle and Forrest Gump.

Rene Hart


Rene Hart is a bassist who draws from many musical influences and has worked extensively as a sideman and collaborator in the American Jazz tradition, rock/folk/pop, and experimental fields. Rene has performed with a wide range of artists including David Amram, James Hunter, Charles Davis, Steven Bernstein, Tracy Bonham, Dakota Staton, Erik Mingus, Janis Ian, Allison Miller, Joel Frahm, Benny Golson, Pete Seeger, Skerik, Branford Marsalis, and Butch Morris. Rene has toured the world, performing at major festivals and venues ranging from the North Sea Jazz Festival to The Milan Opera House. He resides in Brooklyn, NY. "Constantly creative... he has the rare ability to be both a soloist of major importance and make everyone he plays with sound better" - David Amram “...adventurous but grounded” - New York Times

Jeff Litpon

Owner, Peerless Mastering

Jeff Lipton is a multiple GRAMMY®-nominated mastering engineer and founder of Peerless Mastering. Known for his unrivaled dedication to achieving the best possible sound for every project he works on, Jeff has become one of the most highly respected mastering engineers in the business, amassing an impressive discography covering an extensive variety of genres. Jeff works individually with all of his clients until they are satisfied with the results. Whether mastering archival recordings of Bob Dylan, singles for Bon Iver, or the latest Magnetic Fields record; a Boston-based punk act, or an international hip-hop artist, Jeff approaches each project with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail. He is committed to achieving the artistic vision of every client to the fullest extent.

Jeff founded Peerless Mastering in 1995 with a clear ambition: to make great-sounding records. Working out of his apartment with a handful of clients, he focused on honing his skills
and building solid relationships with artists through his commitment to understanding and achieving their sonic goals. This dedication paid off in an ever-expanding roster of clients, as satisfied customers kept coming back and new artists were drawn in by the excellent word-of-mouth. Peerless expanded accordingly, as Jeff acquired increasingly sophisticated equipment and eventually built the incredible facility that is today's Peerless.

Committed to having the absolute highest quality technical and acoustic tools at his fingertips, Jeff built his world-class mastering facility from the ground up and stocked it with an array of exceptional-quality digital and analog processors. From the ATR tape machine to the Pacific Microsonics converters, the Manley and George Massenberg equalizers to the CEDAR Restoration tools, Peerless Mastering has every tool Jeff needs for stereo and 5.1 surround mastering.

Jeff's clients include Barsuk, Epitaph, Instinct, Jagjaguwar, Load, Merge, Nonesuch, Numero Group, Restless, Rykodisc, Sire, Sony, Southern, Sub Pop, and Thrill Jockey. He has mastered projects for artists: Agnostic Front, Arcade Fire, Battles, Big Star, Big D and the Kid's Table, Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Burning Spear, City and Colour, Click 5, Dead Milkmen, Divinyls, Dropkick Murphys, Easy Star All Stars, Future Bible Heroes, John Brown's Body, Karate, Ladytron, LCD Soundsystem, Love Language, Lightning Bolt, The Magnetic Fields, Constantine Maroulis, Erin McKeown, Meat Puppets, Stephin Merritt, The Pernice Brothers, Radiodread, Josh Ritter, Roky Erickson, Sebadoh, Soul Asylum, Spoon, The Submarines, Superchunk, Throwing Muses, and Jeff Tweedy/Wilco.

Maria Rice

Engineer, Peerless Mastering

Maria Rice is a three-time GRAMMY® nominee and a platinum-certified mastering engineer at Peerless Mastering, where she works with artists across genres and formats to deliver high-quality audio and Dolby Atmos masters. She serves on the New York Board of Governors and the Producers & Engineers Committee at the Recording Academy, where she advocates for music education, industry inclusion, mental wellness, and mentorship. she is always curious about the unknown and focused on lifelong learning. Just ask.


As the Chief Operating Officer at Reality Hack, Inc., she leads a volunteer-run nonprofit that organizes the MIT Reality Hack, a massive global event that brings together top XR companies, students, professionals, and tech media to create immersive experiences using XR technology. With over 16 years of experience as a mastering engineer and instructor, She combines her passion for music, mind, and emerging technology to foster creativity, collaboration, and education in the XR community.

Steven Feifke

Artist, Arranger, Bandleader, Educator

Steven Feifke is a GRAMMY® Award-winning bandleader, composer, and arranger.

He has been interviewed on almost every major TV network such as FOX, NBC, and CBS, and is heralded a "masterful pianist" by JAZZIZ Magazine. DownBeat Magazine calls his music is "an air of infectious joy."


He is a Yamaha Performing Artist, an Avid Sibelius Artist, and has appeared on over 45 albums to date. He has written music for hit TV shows like The Masked Singer, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Impractical Jokers, Animaniacs, and many world-class big bands and orchestras around the globe.

Berklee College Of Music hired him as a professor of Harmony and Jazz Composition, and he has also been invited to give guest lectures and Artist in Residencies at institutions such as Yale University, Jazz At Lincoln Center, New York University, UT Austin, Northern Illinois University, and more.

In his free time, he enjoys jogging, reading, and playing chess.

Denise Barbarita

Owner, MONOLisa Studios

Denise Barbarita is a 3x GRAMMY® award-winning Engineer/Mixer based in NYC. She is the owner and head engineer of MONOLisa Studios. Over the past 20+ years, Denise has worked on a variety of music productions spanning many genres, working with independent artists and major clients alike. Her clients include Sony Masterworks, EMI, Koch Records, Nonesuch, Razor & Tie, Movers & Shakers, KonceptVR, and organizations such as The New York Film Academy.

Denise also works with film producers and directors creating soundtracks (music composition, sound design, foley, ADR, and mixing) for feature films, documentaries, trailers, and commercials. She has completed 6 feature films, 21 movie musicals, countless ads, and PSAs.


Recently, Denise completed 2 immersive projects in 2021 and hopes to continue mixing music and VR content using the ATMOS format.

As a singer/songwriter, Denise released 4 albums independently from 2003-2010.


Up until the opening of MONOLisa studios in 2013, she toured extensively throughout the US and Europe, and her music was placed in a variety of television shows, most notably, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frontline, and The Young and the Restless. After a sizeable hiatus, Denise is currently working on a new acoustic album and plans to release this work in the near future.

Monika Ryan

Owner, Resenisitze Records; Artist

Monika Ryan is a New School Jazz Alumnae class of 1997. She is the owner, principal artist, and producer at Resensitize Records, under which she has independently recorded and released 14 albums. Monika's 15th album, ALIVE, will be released in July 2024. Her 16th album will be recorded in May of 2024. As an artist, she has toured with jazz luminaries including Jon Faddis, David Hazeltine, James Williams, Bill Pierce, John Lockwood, Akira Tana, and Satoshi Inoue. Monika was the singer in Charlie Persip's big band for a year and was hired by Al Grey to sing with his group. Monika was a private student of jazz legend Jackie Paris. Notably independent, her career highlights include headline performances at The Montreal International Jazz Festival and tours in Japan, along with a signature presence in Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concert Series for two seasons.

In addition to her work as a versatile, textured, and dynamic vocalist, Monika is known for both her clever and sophisticated philosophical work as a songwriter, and her deep and wide approach as a music producer. 

Mia Moravis

Broadway Producer, Artist

Mia Moravis serves on the Board of Governors~The Recording Academy® (GRAMMYs®)-New York Chapter, and is a Tony®-nominated and three-time Emmy®-nominated Producer. Mia has served as Associate Producer, Executive Producer, and Producer on multiple GRAMMY®-winning and -nominated albums. She is a Remi® Award-winning filmmaker (Seeking Heat, about the international artists on David Byrneʼs Luaka Bop label), an award-winning actress, and 27-time ASCAP PLUS Award-winning songwriter. Mia is a Producer of the upcoming documentary, Sweet Harmony: The Manhattan Transfer, directed by Oscar® nominee, Miles Mogulescu.

Reading Recommendations

“If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” 

Shirley Chisholm 

The first African American congresswoman in 1968. Four years later, she became the first major-party Black candidate to make a bid for the U.S. presidency.

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