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Creativity in Engineering Leads WPI Alumni to the Grammys

Wednesday, May 05, 2021
1:45 pm to 3:30 pm





1:45-3:30PM ET


Join us to hear from WPI alumni, turned professional musicians, producers, recording artists, and Grammy winners on how their WPI education prepared them for a successful career in Nashville's music industry. We will also hear from their faculty mentor and current humanities professors, on how they continue to inspire current students as part of WPI's curriculum.

Neal Cappellino ’87, Electrical Engineering, is a producer/engineer who has called Nashville home for more than 25 years. He has built his career on empathy for both sides of the glass, helping guide platinum artists as well as emerging independent talent with a solid understanding of the creative and technical. A 5x Grammy® Award recipient, including for Best Engineered & Best Bluegrass Album on Alison Krauss & Union Stations ‘Paper Airplane’, his credits also include Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, Avicii, Willie Nelson, The Del McCoury Band, Joan Osborne, Dolly Parton, and The Gabe Dixon Band. He maintains a private facility, Rubicon Studio, which is home base for his work and a secret hideout for visiting engineers. In addition, Neal has a personalized custom training service for the audio community. ‘your~Sound’ provides private mentoring and master classes for continuing education in audio production & engineering, with a hands-on approach that is specific to the clients’ needs.

Dave Jacques ’84, Management , is an acclaimed bassist who has spent his career touring and recording with some of the world’s most-beloved singers and songwriters—including Grammy winners, John Prine (for 25 years!) and Emmylou Harris, and Buddy Miller, DADDY, the band, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, and many more. His distinctive bass playing can be heard on John Prine’s Grammy Award-winning Fair and Square, The Tree of Forgiveness and others. Dave’s solo record is now available on your favorite streaming services. What was I thinking! is a wildly diverse and entertaining instrumental collection that provided Dave an opportunity to demonstrate his well-known musicality on a whole lot of non-bass instruments, from electric guitar and drums to ukuleles and tin whistles. 

Professor Rich Falco served as Director of Jazz Studies on the faculty of WPI for 41 years. He has conducted 15 international jazz concert tours with his WPI ensembles. He is founder and director of the multi-media on-line jazz museum, The Jazz History Database, which is housed on the WPI campus. Professor Falco was executive director and founder of the Jazz Worcester Music Festival, presenting music, jazz poetry, jazz dance, and jazz film. Rich is an active performer, conductor, festival adjudicator and clinician. He continues to serve as Jazz Historian for the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education and is curator of the New England Jazz Hall of Fame.

Professor Douglas Olsen is instructor/lecturer in the Department of HUA and Director of Jazz Studies at WPI. A jazz educator, trumpeter, composer, and band leader, Olsen has performed with Boston and national acts, and is clinician coordinator for the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education. Doug has directed jazz programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Community College of Rhode Island, and was Director of Music in the Medfield Public Schools for 20 years. He is active as a clinician and guest artist, with college appearances at MIT, Berklee, Harvard, University of MA at Amherst and Dartmouth, WPI, URI, Brandeis, CCRI, Bridgewater State, and many area high schools. Doug performs regularly with the Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble, the BTALC Big Band, the John Almark Jazz Orchestra, the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra, and with two of his newest projects “Latin Bash” and the “Doug Olsen Quintet.“ Olsen’s CD of original compositions, Two Cents, was published in 2019 by BMI to critical acclaim.


1:45pm Welcome Remarks by WPI Tech Old Timers

2:00pm Featured Presentation and Q&A

3:00pm Optional Guest Social

3:30pm Event Concludes


This event is hosted by WPI Tech Old Timers for the enjoyment of the WPI community. Inquiries?



Maureen Maynard, Office of Lifetime Engagement for Alumni, Parents and Friends